CHICAGO -- Clete Thomas is leaving the Tigers, but Detroit might still see him quite a bit if things work out for him. He's headed to the Twins, who claimed him off waivers on Saturday.
Detroit designated Thomas' contract for assignment on Wednesday to make room for Drew Smyly on the 25-man roster. There was some hope he would sneak through waivers unclaimed, with teams having set their rosters just over a week ago, but enough teams have a need for outfield help and left-handed hitters, the Twins among them.
"I'm happy for him," manager Jim Leyland told a pool reporter. "I'm not surprised it's the Twins, because [manager Ron Gardenhire] always loved him."
The move ends Thomas' Tigers tenure after eight years. He was a sixth-round Draft pick in 2005 and a fill-in outfielder in 2008 after Curtis Granderson began the season on the disabled list. He played in 102 games in 2009, batting .240 with seven homers and 39 RBIs, but saw his career halted following knee surgery in 2010.
Schlereth unable to harness command
CHICAGO -- Daniel Schlereth summed up his 2012 results to date succinctly.
"The results [stink]," he said.
That was before a Saturday outing that made neither his frustrations nor his statistics any better.
What was an encouraging Spring Training for Schlereth, who accomplished the fastball command he wanted to improve, has turned into a nightmare of an opening stint. With one run charged over 1 1/3 innings during Saturday's 5-1 loss, his ERA actually dropped to 9.00. His hit total, however, rose to seven over four innings in as many outings. Two of those hits are home runs, including Paul Konerko's shot Saturday.
After the game, manager Jim Leyland said he had kept Schlereth for a second inning to try to get him some repetitions and allow him to work through location problems.
"The command's not very good," Leyland said. "That's why I wanted to pitch him."
Before the game, Schlereth said he felt like he was executing most of his pitches, albeit not consistently enough. He had watched Alejandro De Aza's wind-blown fly ball in left field Friday lead to a triple that set up an RBI ground-ball single by Brent Morel against a drawn-in infield.
"It's just hard right now," Schlereth said. "That's how things go sometimes. Sometimes you get line-drive outs right to guys. Other times, you get choppers and balls that do this in the wind. It's just how it goes."
Schlereth came into the regular season coming off the best Spring Training of his career, allowing just two earned runs on four hits over 11 2/3 innings despite seven walks, but with help from 14 strikeouts. He came in wanting to work on his fastball command, and he accomplished it.
He felt like he has taken that into the season, at least the fastball part, though he struggled to spot it against De Aza on Friday. His curveball, of all things, hasn't quite been so consistent, which hurt him Wednesday against the Rays and nearly doomed him Friday when he went to a full count against Adam Dunn before striking him out on a fastball.
"[Friday] was probably the best I've felt this season," Schlereth said. "I know I've only pitched three times, but that's still the best I've felt. My velocity was back. I thought my breaking ball was pretty good. [Against] Morel, I probably could've gotten that one down a little more, but I mean, he didn't hit it hard. Our infield was in."
With a 3-1 count against Konerko, Schlereth had to challenge him with a fastball and paid for it.
"We've got 150 whatever games left. That's all you can really do. You've got to keep grinding and keep working to get consistent," Schlereth said. "Hopefully, the chips fall a little bit better when I'm out there so I can actually help this team in some way instead of just blowing the doors open for us and making us lose games like this."
Inge expects to start Sunday against lefty
CHICAGO -- Brandon Inge said Saturday he's eager to get back into action. He'll likely get his shot Sunday against White Sox left-hander Chris Sale.
Inge was officially activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, the first day he was eligible after beginning the season on the DL. He's expected to serve as part of a three-man platoon at second with Ryan Raburn, who started at second base on Saturday, and Ramon Santiago.
Inge, who grounded out as a pinch-hitter to end Saturday's 5-1 loss, went 1-for-9 with three walks during his rehab stint at Triple-A Toledo.
Fister's treatment continues, no timetable set
CHICAGO -- Doug Fister, whose spot in the Tigers' rotation would have been Saturday had he not strained a left rib-cage muscle, continues to receive treatment to alleviate the soreness. Until they make progress in that, he won't be going on a throwing program.
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand provided the update Saturday, which was essentially the same status as Fister has had since the injury. That doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a long-term absence, but the Tigers will not have a timetable on Fister's return until that soreness goes away.