Hammel takes the mound as Royals seek fifth straight home win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The four-game series between the Tigers and Royals continues Saturday with some new faces, but also without Miguel Cabrera, a feared bat in the middle of the Detroit lineup.

The Royals have won the first two games of the series and are 5-2 in their past seven games.

Cabrera returned to the lineup Thursday after missing three games with biceps spasms only to leave in the sixth inning when he hurt his leg running to first after a single. He was placed on the disabled list Friday with a right hamstring injury.

“They’re calling this one more of a strain, but it’s still a hamstring problem,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ll just have to see how it goes. I can’t tell you if 10 days is enough, only he will be able to do that as we go along.”

Cabrera is hitting .323 with a .516 slugging percentage and a team-leading 21 RBIs in 26 games.

The Tigers called up prospect Grayson Greiner and left-hander Blaine Hardy from Triple-A Toledo. Greiner, who will be making his major league debut when he enters a game, was a 2014 third-round pick. He will back up starting catcher James McCann and play some at first base.

“He’s a strong young man and he can drive a baseball,” Gardenhire said. “He’ll definitely get at-bats. He’s played pretty good over at first base. He moves around OK, and he handles himself well. It benefits him because now he’s going to get an opportunity to play more and get more swings.

“It’s a big hole when you’re filling a hole for Cabrera. I don’t ask him to try to do anything like that. I just want him to go out and be himself and play.”

Hardy replaces Chad Bell, who was optioned to the Mud Hens with an 8.59 ERA in three relief appearances. Hardy, who was drafted by the Royals in 2008, went 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA in seven games, including four starts, with Toledo. He has a 9-4 record with a 3.62 ERA in 164 relief appearances in the majors, all with Detroit.

Right-hander Jason Adam is the Royals’ newest addition. Adam was the Royals’ 2010 fifth-round pick out of Blue Valley Northwest High, a Kansas City suburb, but was traded to Minnesota in 2014.

The Royals re-signed Adam in August after San Diego released him. He was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 10 games in the minors this season. He has never appeared in a big league game.

The Royals optioned Scott Barlow to Omaha and outrighted Brandon Maurer off the 40-man roster to make space for Adam.

The Tigers will start Jordan Zimmermann Saturday. Zimmermann is 1-0 with a 5.81 ERA in his first six starts.

Zimmermann is coming off his best start of the season in a no-decision Monday against Tampa Bay, throwing seven scoreless innings. He yielded two hits, struck out five and walked one.

He has five career starts and one relief appearance against the Royals, going 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. He went 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two appearances last season against the Royals. He is 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five career starts at Kauffman Stadium.

Royals outfielder Jon Jay is 8 for 21 against Zimmermann. Lucas Duda has seen Zimmermann the most of any Kansas City hitter, going 9 for 40 with a home run and three RBIs.

Victor Martinez, who went 3 for 3 in the Tigers’ 4-2 loss Friday night, is a career .297 hitter, 130-for-438, at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals will counter with Jason Hammel, who is 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts this season. Hammel was charged with a season-high eight runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings on Monday in a loss at Boston.

Hammel is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Tigers this year. He tossed nine innings on April 20 at Comerica Park, giving up five hits and two runs in a no-decision in the Tigers’ 3-2 extra-inning victory.

Opponents are hitting .157 the first time through the order against Hammel, but .308 after that.