Tigers Notes: Battle with Royals isn't make-or-break series
Jun 16, 2014 at 6:33p ET
Royals designated hitter Billy Butler characterized this four-game series -- including Thursday's make-up game from April 3 -- as "the biggest series of the year" to the Kansas City Star.
"It's a big series, especially in the division," Ausmus said. "They're important games, obviously. I don't know if I'd put make-or-break on this series. It's probably too early. Now, if this was September, there would probably would be some more ... severity to the outcome of the game. But make no mistake, we want to win."
The Tigers were underplaying the significance of the series.
"It's June," Ian Kinsler said. "We've got a long way to go. There's a lot of games left to be played, a lot of ups and downs in the season, a lot of things that can happen. Tonight's the most important game. We gotta go out and win tonight and make sure we perform tonight."
Hunter agreed with Kinsler, not with Butler.
"I'm older than that. This is not the biggest series of the year," Hunter said. "We're just gonna go out and we're gonna play the game just like we did with the Minnesota Twins. We just play the game like we know how. It's too early to say it's the biggest game of the year. The biggest game of the year is going to always be August and September. Right now we're just going to play the game, take it one game at a time and that's what we're gonna do."
The good news is Luke Putkonen did not need Tommy John surgery, which he already had once before his freshman year of college.
The bad news is Putkonen did have a bone spur, which was removed last Thursday.
"He's going to be reevaluated in six weeks," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "During that time all he's going to be doing is working on getting his range of motion and strength back. He'll be reevaluated with respect to throwing at that point."
Putkonen has been on the disabled list since April 19 and had attempted rehabilitation but kept experiencing pain.
"I've had Tommy John before so I kind of knew what that pain is like, the difference," Putkonen said. The doctors had said the ligaments looked fine. So I wasn't too concerned about that. This is pretty minor compared to that.
"It's obviously better to avoid surgery at all costs. But it's something that had to get done."
Putkonen's arm is wrapped up but he said he expects the wrapping to come off as early as Tuesday.
"It's fine," Putkonen said. "The swelling's gone down quite a bit. They didn't really say, start playing catch maybe four, six, eight weeks, depends how it recovers, reacts to it."
Rand said they won't know for at least six weeks whether Putkonen will be able to return this season.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WALLY
Tigers hitting coach Wally Joyner celebrated his 52nd birthday Monday.