Notes: Maroth eyes return this year

Notes: Maroth eyes return this year

DETROIT -- Tigers southpaw Mike Maroth had only undergone surgery one time previously, a scope on his knee in 1998.

Two days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow, Maroth doesn't know quite what to expect, but he knows that with the help of Dr. Lewis Yocum, he made the right decision.

"Dr. Yocum said he wouldn't recommend it unless it was going to help, so obviously he felt like it would be really tough for me to get through the year," Maroth said.

Maroth was in orbit during his time in the recovery room, thanks to the anesthesia.

"[Doctors and wife Brooke] said I was talking about Neil Armstrong and walking on the moon," Maroth said. "I have no idea where that came from."

Now, however, he's simply relieved to have the nervousness of wondering about his elbow pain over with.

"I was anxious to find out," he said. "Now that it's over, I can work my way back."

One thing Maroth wants to be clear about is that while he is eager to get back to help his team, he will not hurry his return. He still believes he will be back this season. If it's as a starter or reliever, he's willing to do whatever helps the team.

"I'll try to come back as quick as I can, but I don't want to rush it," Maroth said. "I think the best way to do it is not to set a time frame, because if you don't make that time frame, then you're going to be disappointed or you're going to go out there -- and because you think you're ready you're supposed to be ready -- you're going to go out there and mess something up. I feel pretty confident that I'll be back sometime this year."

Meanwhile, he will play the role of the fan, following his teammates at the ballpark or on TV. Actually, he already has been watching, starting with Thursday night's rally against the Yankees.

"Oh yeah, I watched the whole thing," he said. "It was great. To see us come back from five runs down was exciting. You try to keep up with them, whether it's on your phone or on the bottom line."

Miner feat: Maroth's injury gave right-hander Zach Miner his first Major League outing Sunday afternoon. Acquired in a 2005 deadline deal that also brought Roman Colon from the Braves in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth, the right-hander is the first Tigers starting pitcher to make his Major League debut at Comerica Park since Jeremy Bonderman in 2003.

Miner, along with Justin Verlander, gives the Tigers their first pair of rookie starting pitchers since 2003, when Bonderman and Nate Robertson were among a handful of Tigers rookies to make starts.

Miner allowed the Red Sox three runs on seven hits over four-plus innings. He also punched out two batters and issued two free passes.

Rodney rolls on: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz made quite the first impression in his first meeting with Fernando Rodney last August when he hit a game-tying home run off the then-Tigers closer. One night later, Rodney induced a groundout from Ortiz.

Round 3 on Saturday night went to Rodney as well. Ortiz's World Baseball Classic teammate got a fly out this time on a 1-1 changeup that ended the eighth inning.

"I'm not the same this year. Now every time I go out there, I'm ready to go," Rodney said.

This year, manager Jim Leyland says, he appreciates Rodney's stoicism.

"He's one of my favorites, because he doesn't say anything. He doesn't talk to me very much. But he's got nerves of steel," Leyland said. "He just goes out there and he's got the same expression. I think he's been absolutely fantastic."

Coming up: The Tigers have an off-day Monday before beginning their much-anticipated series against the White Sox, starting with Tuesday's 8:05 p.m. ET start at U.S. Cellular Field. Robertson (5-3, 3.42) will match up with Freddy Garcia (7-3, 4.57).

Sam Miller is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.