Notes: Jurrjens may return in relief
Tigers expect to limit rookie righty's innings after stint on DL
DETROIT -- The Tigers expect that injured rookie Jair Jurrjens will make another pitch sometime this season. That doesn't mean that he'll make another start.
While the Tigers and their 21-year-old rookie are optimistic that he'll be ready to return in September and that the inflammation in his shoulder is nothing that would require surgery, they're not sure they'll have a lot of time or a way to work his arm back into shape to the point that he'll be able to go long enough to start.
For that reason, manager Jim Leyland said, "I'm looking at Jurrjens as a strong possibility to pitch out of the bullpen the rest of the year when he comes back."
It's an idea that crossed Leyland's mind as early as Jurrjens' Major League debut. After Jurrjens pitched seven innings in defeat at Jacobs Field on Aug. 15, Leyland said his style would fit well in relief with his combination of aggressiveness and command. He still sees those traits.
"He can locate the fastball, a good fastball," Leyland said, "and he can locate it from both sides of the plate."
If that were to happen, of course, the Tigers would have to find someone to take his spot in the rotation. For now, Leyland said that Chad Durbin is the scheduled starter for Friday's opener at Oakland -- "as it stands right now."
That could change, Leyland said, but he didn't go into details about how it could change.
Durbin pitched three innings of relief after Jurrjens left with one out in the second inning on Sunday. A couple of days of rest would sideline Durbin until Wednesday anyway. Moreover, Durbin has started recently, making two starts while Andrew Miller was on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Durbin made three relief appearances once he was placed back in the bullpen.
For now, Kenny Rogers is not an option. He's scheduled to throw another bullpen session this week at Kansas City, where he hopes to show enough command to work his way back into the Tigers' plans. He might also need to throw to live hitting, probably in a simulated game.
"I expect more, without a doubt," Rogers said of his command. "I need more. It'll come as soon as it can. I'm going to keep trying to throw until it gets to where they're comfortable thinking that I'm OK to get out there and contribute."
As for Jurrjens, he'll rest his arm for about six days before playing catch. He said he's confident that he'll return this season.
Historic indecision: Bobby Seay's win for the Tigers on Sunday afternoon ended what been a historic stretch that nobody noticed, if for no other reason than it didn't stand out in the box score.
The victory was Seay's first since Sept. 1, 2001, when he was still a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He had made 116 Major League appearances over the six years since with neither a win nor a loss. According to research on baseball-reference.com, that's the longest such streak in at least the last 50 years.
The longest active streak now belongs to Houston's Trever Miller, who has made 68 appearances -- all this season -- with no decision since earning a victory on the final day of the 2006 regular season. He also had an 87-game streak from May 26, 2004, to Aug. 13, 2005, which ranks third-highest since 1957. Most of the names on the list, not coincidentally, are left-handers. But none besides Seay topped 100 appearances without a win or a loss.
Shooting hoops: If Todd Jones' short jump and tap on the bag for the first out of the ninth inning on Sunday looked like a basketball drill, it might not be a coincidence. Hoops is part of Jones' training regimen during the season.
It's not as if he plays games or anything, but shooting drills are part of his agility drills. He started doing it this year after taking the idea to strength and conditioning coach Javair Gillett, who worked with the NBA's Orlando Magic earlier in his career.
"Just being able to shoot breaks up the monotony of having it go out there and do it," Jones said. "It makes working out fun."
It also helps his agility. Jones said he feels like he can move around better in all directions because of it, and the knee and hamstring problems that bothered him last season are gone.
"I feel like Chauncey [Billups]," Jones said, referring to the Detroit Pistons guard. "I just can't move like him."
Others have tried the workout with him on occasion, including Justin Verlander, Durbin and Mike Rabelo. Jones said that Durbin has the best pure shot on the team.
"He's consistent," Durbin said of Jones. "I'm streaky."
Coming up: The Tigers head to Kansas City for the start of a three-game series against the Royals. Nate Robertson (7-10, 4.80 ERA) will start the series opener opposite Brian Bannister (10-7, 3.28 ERA) in Tuesday's series opener. Game time is 8:10 p.m. ET at Kauffman Stadium.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.