Tigers Notes: Astros' Bass enjoys facing favorite childhood team
For a kid who grew up in Trenton, Mich. and went to Wayne State, it was a full-circle moment for Houston Astros pitcher Anthony Bass Monday when he took the mound at Comerica Park and faced the Tigers, his favorite childhood team.
Anthony Bass, a Trenton, Mich. native, still has fond memories of going to games at old Tiger Stadium.
By DANA WAKIJI
DETROIT -- For a kid who grew up in Trenton, Mich. and went to Wayne State, it was a full-circle moment for Houston Astros pitcher Anthony Bass Monday.
Bass took the mound at Comerica Park in the bottom of the eighth and faced the Tigers, the team he rooted for as a kid.
"It was exciting going out there and pitching against the Tigers," Bass said Tuesday in the visitors clubhouse. "Obviously, growing up rooting for the team, (I was) definitely anxious (Monday).
Bass got Torii Hunter to pop out, then had to deal with two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera.
"(I) planned on getting ahead," Bass said. "Unfortunately, I fell behind 3-0. (I was) just staying away, hard away with him. I wouldn't tell you too much in case I gotta face him again -- just get ahead and finish him."
Bass lucked out as Cabrera grounded out to second base.
Bass was less fortunate with Victor Martinez, who hit a solo home run on a 2-2 count.
"That was a slider middle down," Bass said. "Obviously, a good hitter hits those mistakes. I was trying to get that on the outside corner and came back just enough for him."
Bass was throwing as hard as 95, but said he wasn't paying attention to that.
"I was just anxious out there, excited to just pitch against this team," Bass said. "It's a job, though, you gotta go out there no matter who it is and get outs, so that's what my main focus was."
Bass still has fond memories of going to games at old Tiger Stadium.
"(I) went and watched Cecil Fielder play, obviously, Brad Ausmus when he was there," Bass said. "Got my first ball at old Tiger Stadium. I'll always remember that to this day, so that place holds a special part in my life."
Although Tiger Stadium is no more, it will live on in Bass' memories.
"I'm happy that they still have that flag up there where the stadium was," Bass said. "It was just special. A lot of people in Detroit hold that place close to them, and definitely I'm one of them."
DOWNS RETURNS TO COMERICA
Left-hander Darin Downs made his major-league debut with the Tigers in 2012 and his first Opening Day roster with the team in 2013.
But Downs, 29, was put on waivers after the season, and the Astros claimed him Nov. 1.
"It was surprising because at the moment we were rushing to the hospital for our baby," Downs said Tuesday. "It kind of caught me off guard a little bit.
"I understand it's a business. Tigers aren't the bad guys. They gave me a chance. No complaints here."
That's right, Downs found out that he was heading to Houston as he and his wife were heading to the hospital for their second child.
"My wife was like, 'We've got to go to the hospital.' We got our bags and stuff, so I'm at a stoplight, checking my phone," Downs said. "I have a couple of texts, couple voicemails.
"I called back, I believe Mike (Smith) from the front office because (Dave) Dombrowski was on the road, so he couldn't contact me himself. I called him, he said, 'Hey, you've been claimed by the Astros.' I told him thank you and everything. It's part of the business. No hard feelings."
Needless to say, Downs had other things on his mind.
"At that moment, I wasn't too concerned at all with what just happened," he said. "I just wanted to make sure the baby was all right, my wife was good."
Downs' wife, Christy, had a healthy baby boy named Braden the following day.
Downs was called up by the Astros on Sunday, just in time for their trip to Detroit and managed to catch up with some of his old teammates on Monday.
Despite leading the team with a .337 average and 11 stolen bases, Rajai Davis was not in the starting lineup Tuesday.
But it wasn't necessarily because of any matchups.
"It wasn't really an off day for Rajai," Ausmus said. "It was more getting J.D. in there.
"There's gonna be times where the guys who get the bulk of the playing time have to rest, not only because they may need it but because the other guys that are on the bench more often need to get into the game."