Cabrera returns to Tigers' lineup

Cabrera returns to Tigers' lineup

Published Aug. 24, 2012 6:04 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera rarely leaves a game early, so it was natural for people to worry when he came out of Thursday's game in the second inning with a sore right ankle.

The good news is, Cabrera is in Friday's lineup. The only bad thing is, he's the designated hitter, not the third baseman.

"The trainer suggested I DH him tonight, so I DH him," manager Jim Leyland said. "He’s DH’ing today because his ankle’s sore.

"Hopefully, he’ll be back in there tomorrow, but I can’t swear to that. I have no idea."

Asked if he thought he would be the DH just for one day, Cabrera said, "I hope."

Leyland had Ramon Santiago playing third base and kept Omar Infante at second.

"I had Santi going to second, moved Omar to third, but I like it the other way because I think Omar’s range is real good, so I just left it over there," Leyland said. "We have a ground-ball pitcher pitching tonight, so if they hit it to the middle of the field, I wanted him there."

Because Cabrera could not play the field, that changed Leyland's lineup plans a bit.

"I was hoping Cabrera could play because I wanted to get another lefty in there, but Delmon’s been hitting the ball pretty hard, so I wanted to play Delmon (Young)," Leyland said. "This just means one lefty can’t play — even though Ramon’s a lefty (switch hitter), I wanted to play Berry or Dirks, but that’s OK."

Smyly happy to be back

It's been a while since Drew Smyly pitched in the big leagues.

With Doug Fister's groin injury sidelining him, Smyly is back in the mix Saturday to face the Los Angeles Angels.

"I feel at home in the locker room but I haven't been out on the mound since July 6th," Smyly said Friday. "It's been almost two months. It's going to be fun to go back out there."

Smyly, 23, has made five starts with the Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A) since coming off the disabled list with a side strain.

Smyly said he's had no recurrence of the injury.

"I feel great," Smyly said. "I'm ready to go. My side's no problem, it hasn't bothered me since I've been in Triple-A. My arm feels good. So should be good."

However, because of the missed time and other factors, it hasn't been business as usual for Smyly down in Toledo.

"My first couple starts I was on a pitch count, then obviously I got ejected in that next one," Smyly said. "The next start I threw 100 pitches, just 100 in five innings, just every inning probably throwing a little too many pitches.

"Then the last time, I threw one inning. That was the plan. I was supposed to be out of the bullpen, actually. But we had a rainout and we had a doubleheader that day, so they said, 'Just go ahead and start.' That made it easier than coming out of the bullpen because I haven't done that."

In 15 starts earlier this season with the Tigers, Smyly went 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA. So he doesn't expect to be overly excited.

"I know what to expect, I know how to go about it," Smyly said. "But I get excited, I get excited and nervous for every game.

"It's just fun going out and pitching in front of 40,000 people, especially when it's late in the season when every one counts."

Smyly knows he's going to have his hands full with the hot-hitting Angels, who are second in the AL in batting behind the Texas Rangers (.277) with a .274 team average.

Growing up, Smyly knew a lot of Albert Pujols fans.

"A lot of Cardinals fans in Arkansas," Smyly said. "Where I grew up, he was everyone's favorite player. I was never a big Cardinals fan, but Pujols is one of the best hitters ever.

"It's going to be fun to face that lineup. Torii Hunter, he's from Arkansas, I've never faced him either. I'm really looking forward to it."

Plus, there's that Mike Trout kid who seems to be having a pretty good rookie season.

Trout, who just turned 21 August 7, is first in the AL in batting average at .345, first in runs with 99, tied for first in stolen bases with 41, first in slugging at .601 and first in OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) at 1.011.

"He's a great hitter," Smyly said. "He's had an unbelievable year so far. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"They've got a really good lineup and a lot of righties, so it's going to be tough. I've pitched in big games before earlier in the season, so if I execute my pitches, hopefully everything will work out well."

Not Pauley's year

David Pauley, the reliever acquired along with Fister from the Seattle Mariners last season and released by the Tigers in spring training, is not having the best year.

On Friday, the commissioner's office announced that Pauley had been "suspended without pay following a second violation for a drug of abuse."

Pauley was with the Mariners' Triple-A team, the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League.

In addition to Pauley, Tigers minor-league outfielder Darren Driggers was suspended for 50 games after he tested positive for "a metabolite of Drostanolone."

Driggers is with the Gulf Coast League Tigers.