CLEVELAND -- Joel Hanrahan resumed throwing off a mound this week in his rehab process from Tommy John surgery, having built up his arm strength after having trouble in side sessions earlier this month.
Hanrahan, signed by the Tigers as a free agent earlier this month, had been throwing off a mound when he signed, but Detroit's medical staff decided to exercise some caution when he struggled to get through his mound sessions. Since they took over Hanrahan's rehab process in midstream, they didn't have their own eyes on how far along he was.
The Tigers have shied away from a timetable on getting Hanrahan back to action, but Hanrahan inferred upon signing that June appears to be a goal. How this affects that hope remains to be seen.
Miggy, Ausmus tossed after check-swing call
CLEVELAND -- It was going to take a lot for mild-mannered Brad Ausmus to earn his first ejection as a Major League manager. Defending two-time American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera did the trick.
After a series of back-and-forth exchanges from the dugout with home-plate umpire Tim Timmons in the sixth inning of Wednesday's series finale against the Indians, Ausmus had enough once Cabrera was ejected for arguing a first-pitch check swing. Ausmus charged out of the dugout and went face to face with Timmons before heading to the clubhouse along with Cabrera.
"That stuff happens," Ausmus said. "We were still able to take the lead a couple times without Miggy. Miggy's not going to be there every single time. He's not always going to be in a position to give us a lead or drive in a run. And today, we were able to get the lead a couple times."
Both situations seemingly got their start with the previous batter. Timmons ruled that Ian Kinsler did not check his swing on an 0-2 slider from Cleveland reliever Carlos Carrasco. It was a close enough swing that Kinsler and Ausmus both thought first-base umpire Tim Welke could take a look. Timmons' call took that out of discussion.
"I think I showed how surprised I was with my body language," Kinsler said. "Umpires are part of the game. Sometimes the calls go for you, sometimes they go against you. I thought he gave me a pretty favorable call on the [second-inning] walk. Sometimes they get them in your favor, sometimes they don't."
Ausmus could be seen yelling from the dugout at Timmons, who was pointing back at him.
"Clearly in my mind, he didn't swing. He didn't even come close to swinging," Ausmus said. "That's why the first-base umpire is there, to help the home-plate umpire, talk with the home-plate umpire to see whether there was a full swing or not, to assist in making the call. And I think if he had checked with the first-base umpire, I think there would absolutely not have been a strike called."
Cabrera watched the exchange from the on-deck circle, and promptly tried to check his swing on the first pitch, drawing a strike call from Timmons. Cabrera, who has been known to gesture for an appeal to first base on his own checked swings, said something back at Timmons that drew a quick ejection. Ausmus soon followed.
"You don't know you're going to be ejected until you're ejected," Ausmus said. "That's neither here nor there. I ended up getting ejected. So be it."
It was Cabrera's sixth career ejection, according to STATS. He was tossed from two games last season under similar circumstances.
Don Kelly pinch-hit for Cabrera and, coincidentally, drew a two-out walk. Gene Lamont, a former Major League manager with the White Sox and Pirates who stayed on from Jim Leyland's staff to provide Ausmus with a veteran voice as bench coach, took over as manager.
Tigers promote prospect Suarez to Triple-A
CLEVELAND -- On the same day Stephen Drew ceased to be a shortstop option for the Tigers, Eugenio Suarez moved one step closer to becoming one in the near future. The Tigers promoted their slick-fielding shortstop prospect from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo late Tuesday night, moving the 22-year-old Venezuelan within an hour of Detroit.
The move came after Suarez went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs for the SeaWolves, raising his average to .284 (44-for-155) with an .850 OPS, 14 doubles, six home runs and 29 RBIs. It also came after Drew signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox, taking him off the free-agent market.
By all indications, the Tigers were never seriously involved on Drew, who would've cost Detroit their first-round pick unless they waited until June 5, the first day of the First-Year Player Draft. Manager Brad Ausmus said Drew was never a topic of serious internal discussion, while team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers never made Drew an offer.
Suarez, on the other hand, has been viewed as a potential option if the Tigers wanted to make a midseason change at short. He made a big impression on Tigers officials with his performance in Spring Training, both before and after the degree of Jose Iglesias' injury became clear, but everyone agreed that he needed more seasoning, as much for his bat as his glove. He started out at Erie once the Tigers decided to give Hernan Perez, their potential second baseman of the future, a look at shortstop.
Tuesday's move gives the Tigers a chance to look at Suarez at a higher level in case they have a decision to make this summer. He'll serve as the everyday shortstop for the Mud Hens. Perez, meanwhile, will primarily play at second base, with some occasional starts at shortstop and third base to keep his versatility fresh.
"It may come in handy later on," assistant GM Al Avila said in an email.
Lemon to represent Tigers at First-Year Player Draft
CLEVELAND -- Former Tigers great Chet Lemon will serve as one of two team representatives at Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft next month.
Lemon wasn't a Tigers Draft pick, though he was a first-rounder. The 22nd overall selection in the 1972 Draft came to Detroit from the White Sox in an '81 trade for Steve Kemp, the first overall selection in the '76 Draft.
Lemon has had a big role in developing baseball players in his post-playing career. A longtime coach in youth baseball and former high school coach, he has served as the baseball director for Florida AAU, a competitive program based out of the Orlando area.
Joining Lemon at the Draft will be Murray Cook, a former general manager who has spent the last seven years as a scouting crosschecker for the Tigers. Cook hired Dombrowski in the mid-1980s to join the Expos organization as the farm director, starting him on his path towards a general manager.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Dirks anticipates late-June return to Tigers
CLEVELAND -- If Andy Dirks is going to rejoin the Tigers in June as originally hoped, it's appearing more and more likely to be later in the month. The left-handed hitter, who underwent back surgery in early March, continues to do light baseball activity at the team's Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla.
That activity involves some light swings and non-intensive baseball drills, but not yet the full activity needed for game action. He'll need to do that for a while before being cleared to begin a Minor League rehab assignment. Add up the time, and an early June return appears unlikely.
The early season play of Rajai Davis has made Dirks' absence almost a forgotten topic, but his eventual return would provide the Tigers with a reliable left-handed bat to take some starts in left and make an impact off the bench. The lone left-handed batter on Detroit's bench for most games against a right-handed starter is Don Kelly.
Dirks underwent microdiscectomy surgery on March 10 to repair a disc in his back. He's 10 weeks into what was originally hoped to be a 12-week rehab process.
• Wayne County prosecutors are reviewing a warrant request from the Detroit Police Department for possible charges against Tigers reliever Evan Reed, who is being investigated for an alleged incident involving a woman prior to Opening Day. Assistant prosecutor Maria Miller said in a statement released to local media that their office will be reviewing evidence, and that no decision is expected this week. Reed and the Tigers had no comment.
• Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen was scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday in Florida for a second opinion on his injured right elbow. Putkonen was shut down from his Minor League rehab assignment last week after experiencing continued discomfort in the elbow during a relief appearance.
• Rick Porcello was scheduled to throw a light session of 15-20 pitches Wednesday morning to check on his health ahead of his scheduled start Saturday against Texas. Porcello had originally been on track on start Thursday, but his start was pushed back two days so that he could treat continued soreness in his left side.