DETROIT -- There was nothing new on Doug Fister's status for Saturday's game against the Angels, but at least there's a good idea who will start in his place if he can't go.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland confirmed Wednesday that left-hander Drew Smyly was pulled from his start at Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday night after an inning as a precaution -- not for his own health, but for Fister's situation. If Fister can't pitch Saturday, Smyly most surely will.
"I would say that's probably true," Leyland said.
Fister, who has an adductor strain in his right groin, was scheduled to play catch on Wednesday off flat ground, not off a mound. That won't be the final determination, but it should give them an idea how much it's limiting him.
"There's still some soreness there," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "We're aggressive, but we have to be smart aggressive."
Right-handers are giving Coke fits this year
DETROIT -- Statistics can be deceptive for relievers, especially numbers like ERA and WHIP, which are more accurate measurements for starters. In the case of Phil Coke and right-handed hitters, however, manager Jim Leyland isn't disputing the stats.
"He hasn't gotten right-handers out very much at all this year," Leyland said Wednesday. "That's not me saying that. That's what the numbers tell. The numbers are what they are."
When Moises Sierra lined a pinch-hit single up the middle in the eighth inning Tuesday night, it raised the batting average for right-handed hitters against Coke to .400 (38-for-95). Add in eight walks, and they have a .442 on-base percentage against him.
The pitch selection isn't all that different for him against right-handers this year compared to his past two seasons in Detroit, according to STATS. The only trend is that he's throwing more breaking balls to righties than he did the previous two seasons. But he's throwing more sliders to all hitters, and his batting average has risen for all his pitches.
Opponents are batting .451 against Coke's fastball, according to STATS, up from .365 last year. Likewise, they're hitting his slider for a .210 average compared to .145 last year. However, hitters are swinging and missing at the slider at a slightly higher rate than last year.
Tigers in early talks about callups
DETROIT -- The Tigers have started discussing their list of potential September callups. However, they haven't yet made their final decisions, manager Jim Leyland said on Wednesday.
"We've already talked about it," Leyland said. "A lot of that depends on what goes on down there [down the stretch]. We haven't finalized anything, but we've talked about it."
That might well have been a topic when team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski and coaches met in Leyland's office for a lengthy discussion Sunday morning.
About all that's certain once rosters expand on Sept. 1 is that the Tigers will add a third catcher as well as an extra infielder, two spots they fill in most years. Bryan Holaday is expected to fill the catching opening from Triple-A Toledo, while Danny Worth will most likely return to Detroit yet again.
If Ryan Raburn stays healthy and shows some signs of hitting during his rehab assignment for Toledo, which begins Wednesday night, he's expected to return from the 15-day disabled list in September. After that, the Tigers have to decide how much use they could get out of their top two hitting prospects at Double-A Erie, Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia, a matter complicated by the fact that Castellanos just converted from third base to outfield in mid-July.