Ausmus refraining from assigning bullpen roles

Relievers 'have to earn' spot in 'pen; only Soria is set as Tigers' closer

Ausmus refraining from assigning bullpen roles

DETROIT -- Al Alburquerque hadn't seen an eighth-inning lead from the mound since mid-April until he handled the eighth Saturday in what was an 8-1 game. For that matter, Alburquerque only had one lead to protect since Memorial Day. It's entirely possible he'll have more games to protect from here, but nobody knows -- not even Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Ausmus has spent the better part of his season-and-a-half managerial tenure preferring set bullpen roles, letting guys get an idea when to expect to be ready. But when Detroit designated Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny for assignment, any remaining order -- some of which had already dissipated with their struggles -- went with them.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marte ready, willing for transition to first base

Tigers' callup primarily played third throughout Minor League career

Marte ready, willing for transition to first base

DETROIT -- Though Alex Avila was in the lineup at first base again for the Tigers on Sunday, manager Brad Ausmus maintained that the team's usual starting catcher won't assume the corner-infield role on a daily basis.

The club's other options to replace Miguel Cabrera as the slugger recovers from a calf strain are Jefry Marte -- a third baseman by trade -- or utility players Andrew Romine and Josh Wilson. Marte, a 24-year-old power hitter, was called up from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday with the intentions of training him for a move to first.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All-Star starters unveiled tonight, full rosters Monday

Watch selection shows on ESPN; Final Vote to get underway Monday

All-Star starters unveiled tonight, full rosters Monday

It was historic because it happened exclusively online. It was personal because it decided the fate of your favorite players. It was intense because you argued a lot. And it was teamwork because you helped shatter a Major League Baseball record.

After 65 consecutive days of relentless fan voting to determine starting positions players for the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the largest All-Star balloting program in sports closed at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers pick up slack with Miggy out of lineup

J.D. Martinez goes yard in four-run first; Kinsler, Cespedes combine for six hits

Tigers pick up slack with Miggy out of lineup

DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez smiled Friday night when he was asked how Tigers hitters can avoid putting too much pressure on themselves to replace injured Miguel Cabrera's production.

"You tell me," Martinez said with a laugh a night before Detroit's 8-3 win over Toronto, "because that's one thing we don't know.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Avila makes terrific grab in 1st start at first

Filling in for Miggy, Tigers' usual catcher flips headfirst into stands

Avila makes terrific grab in 1st start at first

DETROIT -- Before Saturday's 8-3 victory over the Blue Jays, during which he made his first career start at first base, the Tigers' Alex Avila downplayed expectations.

"I'm not going to be amazing over there by any means, but I think I'll do adequate," Avila said.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Price shuts down Jays after Tigers' huge first

Price shuts down Jays after Tigers' huge first

DETROIT -- Hours after the Tigers put Miguel Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list, their offense began the coping process with a four-run first inning off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, putting Detroit in command from the outset for an 8-3 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park.

J.D. Martinez, batting cleanup with Cabrera out, fueled the opening-inning rally with a two-run home run to go with Victor Martinez's RBI groundout and James McCann's RBI triple as the Tigers batted around. Dickey (3-9) eventually found enough bite to his knuckler to pitch into the sixth, allowing only a Yoenis Cespedes RBI single after that, but he lost for the third consecutive start. Ian Kinsler's two-run single capped a three-run eighth off Steve Delabar to put the game away.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy on DL with calf strain, to miss 6 weeks

Tigers call up Marte from Triple-A Toledo to take spot on active roster

Miggy on DL with calf strain, to miss 6 weeks

DETROIT -- For the first time in his career, Miguel Cabrera is headed to the disabled list. The American League's hitting leader and two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner went on the 15-day DL on Saturday morning with a left calf strain sustained on the basepaths in Friday night's 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays.

An MRI taken on the calf revealed a Grade 3 calf strain -- including tearing of muscle fibers -- which is expected to keep Cabrera out for around six weeks. The Tigers were expecting to get an additional opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson, the specialist who performed surgery last fall on Cabrera's left ankle and foot.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers examine choices at first with Miggy out

Avila steps in Saturday, while Detroit considers callup Marte; V-Mart 'not an option'

Tigers examine choices at first with Miggy out

DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera's Grade 3 calf strain, which will sideline him for the next six weeks, leaves the Tigers with major holes to fill, both at the plate and at first base.

The former they can compensate for with some of their other big bats, such as Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez and a healthy Victor Martinez. The latter isn't as easy.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez flirts with no-no, Tigers hold on vs. Jays

Sanchez flirts with no-no, Tigers hold on vs. Jays

DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and a five-run fourth gave the Tigers a necessary cushion as they held on for an 8-6 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Comerica Park in a game the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera exited with a strained left calf.

Toronto's Ezequiel Carrera had a noteworthy performance, both in left field and at the plate. His throwing miscues on consecutive plays extended Detroit's big fourth inning. And, following a seven-pitch battle with Sanchez in the eighth, Carrera lined a single into left field to break up the no-hit bid with one out.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez at best with batterymate Avila back

Righty five outs away from second career no-hitter in catcher's return from DL

Sanchez at best with batterymate Avila back

DETROIT -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila realized around the fifth inning of Friday's 8-6 win over the Blue Jays that Anibal Sanchez was having a special night.

And as Detroit's offense continued piling on runs, Sanchez continued baffling Toronto. At one point, the righty had retired 16 straight batters. Then he was just five outs away from his second career no-hitter.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers DFA Joba, Gorzelanny in 'pen makeover

Detroit calls up Ferrell, VerHagen to fill newly opened relief spots

Tigers DFA Joba, Gorzelanny in 'pen makeover

DETROIT -- Needing a shakeup after three months and a .500 record, the Tigers went to the bullpen on Friday. The moves they made, designating Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny for assignment while promoting rookies Jeff Ferrell and Drew VerHagen, leaves that bullpen looking a lot younger.

For now, they're going with the kids. It's a rare move for an organization that has generally leaned on veterans for late-inning outs but now has Joakim Soria and Al Alburquerque as its only relievers with a full season in the Majors. The way things were going, however, the Tigers had to change.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Avila returns to Tigers from disabled list

Avila returns to Tigers from disabled list

DETROIT -- The Tigers activated catcher Alex Avila from the 15-day disabled list before Friday's 8-6 win over Toronto.

With Avila behind the plate, Friday's starter Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. The catcher went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored in his return.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers know spark can restore winning ways

Club remains optimistic as second half awaits despite dip to .500 mark

Tigers know spark can restore winning ways

DETROIT -- At the time, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus hoped Sunday's walk-off win over the White Sox was a turning point toward more positive results.

Following Thursday's 8-4 loss to the Pirates, which completed a three-game sweep at Comerica Park, Ausmus admitted Detroit is still searching for that inspiration.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' late glimmer vs. Bucs a fleeting one

Tigers' late glimmer vs. Bucs a fleeting one

DETROIT -- Francisco Liriano tossed seven scoreless innings, and a four-run ninth weathered a late comeback attempt as the Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers with an 8-4 win on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Rajai Davis lined Liriano's first pitch into center field for a single, but the southpaw allowed just four hits the rest of the way. In the fourth inning, Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler and first baseman Miguel Cabrera reached with one out, but Liriano worked out of his biggest jam of the day by inducing groundouts from Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers draft picks have big night for Connecticut

Stewart homers, Gibson rips a grand slam and Alexander throws four frames of one-hit ball in his pro debut

Tigers draft picks have big night for Connecticut

It takes years to decide whether a draft class panned out or not, but Tigers general manager David Dombrowski has to be feeling good about his 2015 haul after watching the Connecticut Tigers Thursday.

Three top picks helped Rookie League Connecticut cruise to an 11-2 blowout win over Lowell. The group included first-round pick Christin Stewart, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, second-round pick Tyler Alexander, who allowed one hit, one walk and notched four strikeouts in four innings, and fifth-rounder Cam Gibson, who ripped a grand slam in a 1-for-5 night.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J.D.'s quietly strong year not lost on Ausmus

Tigers' manager impressed by outfielder's strides in field as well as at plate

J.D.'s quietly strong year not lost on Ausmus

DETROIT -- While answering a question on Wednesday about Yoenis Cespedes' All-Star candidacy, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus paused to support another one of his players.

"Really, we probably have a right fielder that's an All-Star, as well," Ausmus said.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fan favorite Gibson rejoins Tigers booth

Two-time World Series champ calls full game following Parkinson's diagnosis

Fan favorite Gibson rejoins Tigers booth

DETROIT -- On Thursday morning, before the Tigers' series-closing 8-4 loss to the Pirates, Kirk Gibson had a friendly disagreement with Brad Ausmus during the manager's media availability.

"He's got tremendous power," Ausmus said of right fielder J.D. Martinez. "Kirk Gibson power."

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers lament pitching woes against Pirates

Tigers lament pitching woes against Pirates

DETROIT -- Earlier this season, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus called Alfredo Simon the most consistent pitcher in his rotation.

Not anymore.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers can't rally in loss to Pirates

Tigers can't rally in loss to Pirates

DETROIT -- Second baseman Neil Walker's two-homer night propelled the Pirates to a season-high 21 hits as they topped the Tigers, 9-3, on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Pittsburgh took command with a five-run third against Detroit starter Alfredo Simon. The inning was highlighted by Walker's first home run of the night, which followed a leadoff double from third baseman Josh Harrison. Walker, left fielder Starling Marte and designated hitter Pedro Alvarez all homered in the eighth inning off reliever Joba Chamberlain to all but seal the win.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilson becoming an important piece for Tigers bullpen

Wilson becoming an important piece for Tigers bullpen

DETROIT -- You couldn't blame Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez for misspeaking early Wednesday morning when answering a question about right-hander Alex Wilson, who had just tossed 3 1/3 shutout innings of relief in extras.

"I think he pitched 57 innings -- 57 pitches, I'm sorry," Martinez said.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ausmus not concerned about hit-by-pitches

Ausmus not concerned about hit-by-pitches

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus agrees with Victor Martinez -- both believe Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole plunked Detroit's designated hitter intentionally on Tuesday night.

But, in Ausmus' opinion, that's yesterday's news, and he doesn't plan on giving it much thought during the remainder of the series.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander settles in, nets quality start in return

Rough start to night turns around as Tigers righty pitches into seventh inning

Verlander settles in, nets quality start in return

DETROIT -- Despite his early struggles, Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander cobbled together a quality outing Tuesday night after missing a start due to back stiffness.

Verlander labored through a 27-pitch first inning against the Pirates, then allowed a run in the second and two in the third. But, despite tossing just one clean frame, he lasted into the seventh during Detroit's 5-4, 14-inning loss at Comerica Park.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers can't rally twice in 14-inning loss

Tigers can't rally twice in 14-inning loss

DETROIT -- Neil Walker's double down the right-field line scored the go-ahead run in the 14th inning as the Pirates outlasted the Tigers, 5-4, on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

Until the eighth inning, it seemed as if the Buccos would claim the series opener easily, but a pair of Martinezes quickly erased a two-run deficit. Two batters after Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez reached on a leadoff single to left field, J.D. Martinez launched the second pitch he saw from Tony Watson over the left-field wall. But neither team broke the tie until the 14th, when Josh Harrison doubled off lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny and Walker drove him in a batter later.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

V-Mart unhappy with hit-by-pitch

Tigers designated hitter one of four players plunked in Tuesday's contest

V-Mart unhappy with hit-by-pitch

DETROIT -- Victor Martinez isn't happy with right-hander Gerrit Cole and the Pirates.

During the fourth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh at Comerica Park, Detroit starter Justin Verlander plunked Starling Marte on a 1-2 pitch with two outs and a runner on first. Then, in the bottom half of the frame, Cole hit Martinez with a 95-mph fastball, and the Tigers' designated hitter appeared to take offense, staring at the pitcher as he walked slowly to first.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Iglesias contributes heavily from No. 9 spot

One of Tigers' leaders in batting average, OBP remains at bottom of order

Iglesias contributes heavily from No. 9 spot

DETROIT -- Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias was batting .330 entering Tuesday, the second-highest average on the team. He boasted a .384 on-base percentage and just 21 strikeouts this season. Yet, in almost every game, he has hit ninth in the order.

Why?

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harbaugh throws ceremonial first pitch

University of Michigan coach, lifelong baseball fan wears Fidrych jersey

Harbaugh throws ceremonial first pitch

DETROIT -- During Jim Harbaugh's Aerial Assault quarterback camp earlier this month in Ann Arbor, Mich., the University of Michigan football coach showed off his baseball skills, picking throws off the turf as if he were a first baseman.

On Tuesday at Comerica Park, he showcased his arm. Wearing a Mark Fidrych jersey, Harbaugh tossed the ceremonial first pitch to manager Brad Ausmus before the Tigers' series opener against Pittsburgh. The throw had good velocity, but even armchair umpires would've agreed it came in a tad high.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers add infield depth with Casilla swap

Tigers add infield depth with Casilla swap

The Tigers and Rays worked out a Minor League trade that sent veteran infielder Alexi Casilla to Detroit for a player to be named later.

In his debut with the organization on Monday, Casilla went 1-for-3 for Triple-A Toledo vs. his former Durham Bulls teammates.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moya launches two homers for Mud Hens

Tigers No. 1 prospect has his first multi-homer game of the season, No. 3 prospect throws 7 strong frames

Moya launches two homers for Mud Hens

Last July, Steven Moya had the best month of his professional career. If Monday night was any indication, the Tigers' No. 1 prospect is gearing up for a repeat performance.

Moya, 24, swatted two solo home runs for Triple-A Toledo in a 4-1 win over Durham, giving him eight homers on the year. His big game came on the heels of a mini-drought (0-for-8) that was quickly remedied in the fourth inning. Moya, whose last multi-homer game was on July 4, 2014, appears to be heating up as the Mud Hens close in on the end of June.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.