The Tigers have to be excited about their recent performances at the plate -- especially in their 7-0 win against the Indians on Friday -- but they also should be thrilled to get Anibal Sanchez back from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
Sanchez, who is recovering from a strained right shoulder, threw just 23 pitches in a rehab start at Class A Advanced Lakeland before taking a line drive to his left leg. Despite the low pitch count and a bruise on his leg, Sanchez isn't concerned about his arm.
"I feel good," Sanchez said. "There's no question about it. My arm, thank God, is good. The command is there, too."
The Tigers, however, plan to use his next two starts before the All-Star break to build up his workload. Manager Jim Leyland wouldn't say whether he'll be on a specific pitch count or if it's another standard, but he will definitely be monitored.
"Realistic, those two starts set up the second half," Leyland said, "because he's not going to throw a lot of pitches tomorrow. I'm not going to get into detail on how many, but there is no chance that we would expect him to pitch a complete game by any means because of the numbers of pitches we're going to have to limit him to. So that's another little thing you're going to have to fight in this series."
The Indians will counter with Carlos Carrasco, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus before Saturday's game. He's 0-3 with a 8.17 ERA in five starts this season, including allowing six earned runs on 10 hits in four innings against the Tigers on June 8.
"His stuff is electric," manager Terry Francona said about Carrasco after his last start against the Tigers. "But there's still some learning to do, because he didn't pitch in. If he lets them get their arms extended, then it takes away some of the effectiveness of his breaking ball, because they're not respecting in. When he learns to start throwing that fastball in, he's going to be something special."
Indians: McAllister's recovery is going well
• Right-hander Zach McAllister threw 60 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday, inching closer to a return from a sprained right middle finger that put him on the 15-day disabled list on June 3.
"He's doing terrific. That's the good news," said Francona, who mentioned that a rehab start soon after the All-Star break is a "distinct possibility" for McAllister. "And we want him back yesterday. But you can't do it that way."
McAllister didn't throw a breaking ball on Friday but is scheduled to throw on flat ground on Saturday and see how it feels to throw a curveball, the pitch that has caused the most pain for his finger. If all goes well, he could mix them in during a simulated game on Monday at Progressive Field.
• Although Mark Reynolds has found himself in a rough stretch at the plate in the past month, Francona doesn't think it's a huge problem.
"Sometimes, his bat is in and out of the zone more than it was," Francona said. "He had such a good streak there for a while where he was staying through the zone so well, that even when he missed, you know, but he's had just a little bit of movement with his body, so his bat's in and out of the zone a little quicker than normal. I actually thought the last week or so it's been better."
Reynolds is batting .165 with three home runs and 55 strikeouts in his last 36 games.
Tigers: Tuiasosopo returns from the DL
• The Tigers activated Matt Tuiasosopo from the 15-day disabled list on Friday after he spent two rehab games at Triple-A Toledo. Avisail Garcia was optioned to Toledo to make room for Tuiasosopo.
Tuiasosopo was batting .412 with a homer and five RBIs in June before he suffered an intercostal strain during batting practice on June 20.
Although Tuiasosopo's role is a platoon outfielder to face left-handed pitching, he's hit .333 with two home runs and 10 RBIs against right-handers in 27 at-bats.
• Along with Tuiasosopo and Sanchez returning from injury to face the Indians, the Tigers are also hoping to have Omar Infante playing by the end of the series.
Infante has a bandage on his bruised left shin, but his main limitation is his left ankle. He expects to return within two days, though he still had some discomfort when he tried to hit off a tee.
• Torii Hunter has dominated against Carrasco, going 4-for-8 with two home runs and three RBIs in his career versus the right-hander.
• Jason Kipnis has a 16-game hitting streak, batting .446 over that stretch. He's also reached base through a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in 36 straight games.