Notes: Sore elbow pushes Maroth back

Notes: Sore elbow pushes Maroth back

DETROIT -- Mike Maroth's tender elbow is giving the Tigers reason for concern.

For the second time in just over a month, the left-hander has had a start pushed back due to discomfort in his left elbow. He was scheduled to pitch Thursday's series finale against the White Sox, but will go on Sunday against Cleveland instead.

From a short-term standpoint, it's not a logistical issue. Tuesday's day off means Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman could be pushed up and still start on regular rest. Verlander will start in Maroth's place, followed by Rogers and Bonderman to begin the weekend series against Cleveland.

In that sense, the Tigers could afford to push back Maroth as what they call a precautionary measure.

"Could I have pitched tomorrow? Probably," Maroth said. "Would that have helped it? Probably not."

Maroth isn't sure what would help it right now. He took a few extra days between starts when his elbow first flared up after his first start of Spring Training. That seemed to work, but Maroth said Wednesday it was still noticeable through most of camp.

It hasn't bothered him when he pitches, but it has in the days afterwards. This time, Maroth felt it a day after his regular-season debut Friday at Texas.

"My first outing, I felt 100 percent. It was the best I've felt," Maroth said. "What concerns me is the recovery time and going on every fifth day. We have the luxury of these off-days early, but when we start falling on every fifth day, how's my arm going to recover? That's kind of the big thing now."

While the recurrence is reason for concern, there's no evidence to suggest anything worse. Maroth had an MRI exam for insurance reasons during Spring Training and no problems popped up. However, doctors weren't looking specifically at the elbow.

When manager Jim Leyland was asked if he was concerned, he said, "Probably not so much right now, but if it continues, then we'll probably have to take it a little more seriously."

Maroth has no doubt he'll be able to pitch Sunday, once he plays a light session of catch Thursday and a light bullpen session Friday.

"I believe there's not going to be a problem pitching Sunday," he said. "It's the recovery after."

On the run: Contrary to expectations, Dmitri Young's steal of third base Monday was not a botched hit-and-run. It wasn't a called steal, either, but it was a reaction to some advice Leyland gave some of his players before the game.

"I just want us to be aggressive if the time is right," Leyland said.

Watching starting pitcher Freddy Garcia work, Young believed the time was right. "I saw something and I took advantage," he said.

With a little luck. The way Dmitri rolled into the base sideways, instead of sliding, knocked his helmet off his head. Third baseman Joe Crede tagged the helmet with no head inside it.

"It kind of worked out good. His helmet messed the guy up," Leyland said. "Haven't really worked on that play, but it was a pretty good play."

It's seemingly a page out of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's book.

"When you play against a team that has really good pitching, or any pitcher having a hot start, you have to create some ways to win a game," Leyland said. "I'm not worried about how it looks or what people say. That's just the way it is. If you just go up there and take your at-bats with someone really nasty, you're probably going to end up on the short end of the stick."

Omar gets to play: The last Tiger without an at-bat finally got a start Wednesday. Leyland put Omar Infante in his lineup at designated hitter, giving Young a day off.

It was a surprising spot for a utility infielder, but Leyland cited Young's struggles against Chicago starter Jose Contreras. Young is 2-for-22 lifetime against Contreras, including 0-for-6 last year, while Infante is 6-for-23. Leyland said he'll start Infante at third base Thursday versus Jon Garland, against whom Infante is 9-for-19.

Coming up: The Tigers and White Sox finish their three-game set with another 1:05 p.m. ET matinee Thursday at Comerica Park. Verlander makes his second start of the season opposite Garland.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.