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Santiago sitting out with strained calf


LAKELAND, Fla. -- While the Tigers debuted their expected Opening Day lineup on Saturday, they didn't have their primary utility infielder. Ramon Santiago is out with a strained right calf, and manager Jim Leyland said he isn't sure how much time he'll miss.

The injury is the second of the spring for the Tigers, who have had outfielder Brennan Boesch out of action for a week with a strained oblique muscle. This was expected to be -- and still could be -- a big Spring Training for Santiago, who came to camp in game shape after a strong winter campaign in his native Dominican Republic. He also came to camp slimmer after an offseason workout routine aimed towards more agility than strength.

The goal was the kind of head start Santiago didn't enjoy last year, when he struggled to a .206 batting average with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 259 plate appearances. In past years, when Santiago has come off a solid winter league season, he has enjoyed a strong start to the Major League schedule.

Leyland said he had been planning on starting Santiago on Sunday against the Phillies to give Jhonny Peralta a break. If Leyland decides to rest Peralta anyway, Danny Worth is expected to get the start.

As for Boesch, he has been making progress towards a return, though it seems unlikely he would move immediately to game action after not seeing live pitching at all during that portion of camp.

"He's done some activity pain-free," Leyland said. "Hopefully he'll be ready soon."

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