Detroit Tigers Links: Kinsler and Fielder opposite fates, Ray down, Knebel up & no Tommy John for Putkonen


May 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; General view as Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches to Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) in the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Kinsler transforming Tigers while Fielder, Rangers continue struggle – Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News

"So far, Ian Kinsler has been a perfect fit in a much bigger puzzle. When the Rangers visit Detroit for a four-game series beginning Thursday, Kinsler will greet them with one of the 10 best AL batting averages (.317). It’s clearly an impressive rebound for a player whose offensive skills were deemed to be in decline in Texas. But what’s more impressive is how it has fit into the Tigers’ remake of the club.“It was hard to be more athletic the way we were setup,” GM Dave Dombrowski said last week. “We were going to be a slugging club, but we wanted to improve our athleticism and our defensive abilities. In our ballpark, ideally you’d like to have a little more athleticism.”"

This was written before the Rangers stream rolled the Tigers 9-2 on Thursday afternoon, but looking at the overall scheme of things, it has to be tough to swallow for Texas and their fans to see Kinsler doing vintage Kinsler things for Detroit and see Prince Fielder struggle for their team–and now see their prized acquisition shelved for the rest of the season. Already buried behind the A’s and Angels, this is a major blow to the Rangers chances for a rebound this year.

Detroit Tigers option Robbie Ray to Triple-A Toledo, will call up highly touted reliever Corey Knebel – James Schmehl, MLive

"Less than two weeks after being promoted to Triple-A Toledo, highly touted pitching prospect Corey Knebel has been called up to Detroit, the Tigers announced Thursday.The move was made official after the team’s 9-2 blowout loss to Texas, which saw rookie starter Robbie Ray give up seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings."

Make no mistake, Ray was not sent down because of his dreadful performance on Thursday, this was the plan all along. He did get battered by Texas, but his other appearances were stellar. Now back to the minors for a little more seasoning. Knebel’s rapid ascension is noteworthy and will be interesting to watch, but this is probably more about a fresh arm for the beleaguered relief corp than anything else.

No surgery for Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen – Tom Gage, Detroit News

"A visit Wednesday to renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews resulted in an unchanged diagnosis from an earlier MRI.Putkonen, who has been on the disabled list since April 19, is still suffering from right elbow inflammation but nothing more dire at this point."

No timetable has been set for Putkonen’s return.

Tigers Host 12th Annual Negro Leagues Weekend –

"The Detroit Tigers host the franchise’s 12th annual Negro Leagues Weekend May 23-25 as the Tigers host the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. On Saturday, May 24 the Tigers will don the throwback uniforms of the Detroit Stars and the Rangers will suit up as the Ft. Worth Texas Black Panthers during the 20th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game, presented by Comerica Bank. The Annual Negro Leagues Weekend marks the first – and longest running – three-day celebration of its kind in Major League Baseball."

The Tigers are one of a select few teams that do not have a set alternate uniform. So the annual Negro Leagues game is usually the only chance we get to see them in anything else. Although we have seen them wear a throwback on the road or last year’s “Tigres” jerseys to change things up from time-to-time.