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Smyly moves closer to rehab assignment

The Sports Xchange
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--LHP Drew Smyly is likely to be sent on a rehab assignment by the end of the weekend after throwing a full-throttle, 50-pitch bullpen session Thursday. "It went really well. No problems," Smyy said. "We're going to wait to see how I feel Friday, but hopefully I could pitch in a game either this weekend or early next week." Smyly has been out two weeks with a left side strain, but the recent acquisition of RHP Anibal Sanchez would suggest the southpaw is destined to be optioned to Class AAA Toledo, for whom he'll be pitching on rehab, when he is ready to be returned to the active roster. "As long as I am playing in games, I don't care," he said.

--RHP Justin Verlander looked like a lock with a two-run lead heading into the seventh inning. But Cleveland had the key and erupted for four runs to take a 5-3 victory from Detroit. The key Thursday night for the Indians was attacking Verlander's first-pitch fastballs. "It's more of a letdown," Verlander said. "I'm extremely disappointed with myself, not being able to go out there with a two-run lead in the seventh and be able to shut the door and get us our 'W.'"

Cleveland got home runs on Verlander's first two pitches of the seventh to tie the score and added two more runs before the Tigers' ace could finish the inning.

--CF Austin Jackson singled his first three times up, scoring once and driving in a run Thursday night to keep his solid season going. Jackson's RBI single in the fourth gave Detroit a 2-1 lead. He also walked and kept the ninth going by beating the relay of a forceout at second.

--1B Prince Fielder keeps facing a shift and keeps beating it -- both ways. Fielder batted with CF Austin Jackson on second and two outs in the first inning Thursday, and he pounded a sharp grounder right where the shortstop would have been standing without the shift to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. In the third, he faced a more exaggerated shift with one out and the bases empty -- and he lined a single over the second baseman's head into right field. His ability to thread a ball to left against a shift has him batting above .300.

--DH Delmon Young drew his 10th walk of the season Wednesday night and dropped jaws Thursday by drawing a base on balls in back-to-back games. Young squared up his walk and home run totals by leading off the sixth inning Thursday with his 11th home run of the season.

--INF Ramon Santiago will see his playing time fall drastically with the arrival of 2B Omar Infante, but manager Jim Leyland plans to get him into games once or twice a week. Santiago started Thursday in place of SS Jhonny Peralta, and he may get another start in one the last six games of Detroit's road trip through Toronto and Boston, either for Peralta or Infante. Santiago singled in his first at-bat but went hitless in his next three. He also appeared to lose track of a soft liner in the seventh that went for an RBI single, driving in Cleveland's fifth run of the game.

--OF Andy Dirks was scratched from Class AAA Toledo's lineup Wednesday with renewed soreness in his right Achilles tendon. However, the setback was minor, and he renewed his rehab assignment Thursday, going 1-for-4.

--LHP Kelvin De La Cruz, designated for assignment by the Tigers earlier this week, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AA Erie. De La Cruz, 23, started for Erie on Thursday, and he gave up six runs in six innings. In 20 games (18 starts) in Class AA this year, he is 5-8 with a 5.12 ERA. He was claimed off waivers from Cleveland in March.

BY THE NUMBERS
31 -- Hits by 1B Prince Fielder to left field and right field after getting a single to left and another to right Thursday night at Cleveland. He has 51 hits to center.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"It looks like they had a great game plan against Justin. It looks like they were going to ambush the first-pitch fastball, and they never got off of it. It hurt him a little bit early and hurt him a little bit late." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on ace RHP Justin Verlander getting thumped for a run in the first inning and four runs in the seventh in a 5-3 loss at Cleveland. His first two pitches of the seventh -- 93 mph fastballs that were up and away -- went for home runs. RF Shin-Soo Choo hit Verlander's first pitch of the game for a double and scored the Indians' first run.

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

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