Of chief concern of course to Tiger fans is the status of Cameron Maybin, who hasn't played since last Sunday, May 7th. The problem? Maybin's finger.
He has had the finger X-rayed and checked out ad nauseum, and there is no structural damage, or anything of any real concern. What the team is calling ‘trigger finger' has now kept Maybin on the shelf for a full week, and there is some concern that there might be something else there. Should he not regain the ability to move it, he certainly may travel down to Detroit to re-examine it, but for now, the club will wait it out and hope everything works out fine.
Moving up a level, there was more bad news when it came to the pitching staff; both Jair Jurrjens and Kevin Whelan ended up with injury issues – Jurrjens was removed from his most recent start after just 3 innings, while Whelan sprained his ankle. Since the club has been on the road, there has been little as far as information is concerned, but for now, be consoled by the old adage ‘no news is good news', because if something serious had happened, word likely would have gotten out.
Wil Ledezma on the other hand was just activated from the disabled list. Ledezma had been on the shelf for the past two weeks because of a strained oblique muscle, but it was nothing serious, and he'll be returning to the Toledo rotation. The 'Hens will likely keep a close eye on Ledezma and his mechanics, as a strained oblique can often force pitchers to alter things in their delivery without noticing it, which could cause further problems down the road.
To open up a spot, John Ennis was sent down to Erie.
Finally, moving to extended spring training where a pair of top draft picks have finally seen some action as of late.
Eric Beattie's struggles have been well documented – since he started trying to pitch professionally, Beattie just simply couldn't find the strike zone. Numerous attempts at tweaking mechanics and re-focusing his mindset did little to help him, and then this spring he started experiencing pain in his elbow when he threw.
Just this past week, Beattie threw a bullpen session, with varying reports on how successful it went. Regardless of his accuracy, the bigger concern is that the pain in his elbow doesn't seem to be going away completely, which is a concern that might lead to Beattie going under the knife, especially if it persists and his control doesn't return.
Finally, Kyle Sleeth moved away from bullpen sessions this past week and pitched two innings in an extended spring training game this past week. Besides a little tightness in his back, Sleeth experienced no issues with pitching in game action. The next test for Sleeth over the next couple weeks will be for him to begin to stretch his outings longer, and then be able to return to action for a regular spot in the rotation.
Nothing is ever certain when it comes to Tommy John surgery recovery, and there's no telling when a setback could occur. But, if everything goes as planned, Sleeth should find himself in the Lakeland rotation sometime in the first half of June.
Below are a couple pictures of Sleeth's return to the mound, via TigsTown Contributor Roger DeWitt: