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Leyland plans to make Infante an everyday player

The Sports Xchange
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--2B Omar Infante will hit ninth against right-handers and second against southpaws, and he'll play nearly every day. Infante made his second Detroit debut Tuesday night in Cleveland in his return to the Tigers, and he collected one single in four at-bats as manager Jim Leyland's No. 9 hitter. "Put this in your notes so you don't have to ask me again," Leyland said of hitting Infante second or ninth. "Second base has not been a very productive spot for us this year. Hopefully it will become more productive now. Infante is our second baseman as of today. That's why we got him. If he needs a rest, I'll give him a rest."

--RHP Doug Fister wasn't at his best Tuesday at Cleveland, but he gave Detroit a chance to win, although he wound up taking the loss. Fister threw a lot of strikes, and he benefited from three double plays, but five of the nine hits he allowed came on a 1-2 or 0-2 pitch, and another was on a full count. "The finish was one of my problems, not finishing enough and not executing when I have to," Fister said. He was up in the strike zone a lot, which wasn't the case in his previous two starts.

"Doug survived a few mistakes," manager Jim Leyland said. "He left some balls in the middle (of the plate) when he was ahead in the count, but he pitched his tail off to survive it. He pitched very, very well."

Fister added, "It was a struggle. I didn't have my best stuff. One of the positives is just battling."

--3B Miguel Cabrera got a pitch to hit in a situation he should not have, and he hit it for his 24th home run and third in two games. LF Quintin Berry came back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk with two outs in the seventh, and Cabrera mashed a 2-0 fastball over the center field fence and off the top of the bullpen. The pitch came right after Cleveland's pitching coach paid a visit to RHP Joe Smith. Cabrera now has 81 RBI this season.

--LF/2B Ryan Raburn gets squeezed off second base with the addition of 2B Omar Infante. He'll play mostly in left field against left-hand pitching, not at second base, manager Jim Leyland said. "We won't have to be picking and choosing all the time at that spot." Raburn's typically slow first half has extended well into the second half of the season.

--INF Danny Worth was optioned to Class AAA Toledo for the fourth time this season, clearing a roster spot for newly acquired 2B Omar Infante. Worth, 26, was hitting .215 with three RBI in 35 games with Detroit. "He was doing much better," manager Jim Leyland said. "I kind of felt bad for him. He's a major league infielder, there's no doubt in my mind about that, but these are things that happen."

--RHP Al Alburquerque, whose wipeout slider made him a midgame relief strikeout sensation for Detroit last year, has been sent to high Class A Lakeland to begin a rehab assignment. He threw two innings of live batting practice Saturday, the second of two sessions he needed to complete with no problems before beginning to pitch in games again. Alburquerque had surgery last winter to repair a stress fracture at the tip of his right elbow. He struck out 67 in 43 1/3 innings for the Tigers last year, but he's missed all of this season to date.

--RHP Anibal Sanchez will make his first start for Detroit on Saturday in Toronto. Sanchez, obtained Monday from Miami, started Sunday for the Marlins, but with Detroit not playing Monday, the Tigers' starters all got pushed back a day. Sanchez will slide into the slot of the pitcher he was traded for, RHP Jacob Turner, who would have worked Saturday after starting Sunday. Manager Jim Leyland said he hasn't seen Sanchez pitch and thus doesn't know much about him.

BY THE NUMBERS
.754 -- The OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage) of new Detroit 2B Omar Infante, an upgrade over the .562 OPS of the second basemen the Tigers had been using entering Tuesday's game.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"This trade happened as most of Dave Dombrowski's do. He doesn't fool around. It came out of the blue, popped up, done." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on the deal with Miami that brought RHP Anibal Sanchez and 2B Omar Infante to Detroit, a trade that was discussed Friday and completed in the middle of Sunday's game.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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