DETROIT -- The question of Justin Verlander's availability to start again came up, and it was shot down as soon as the Game 4 part of the question could be mentioned.
"No," manager Jim Leyland answered.
To those who haven't followed the Tigers extensively, it's a real debate, especially with someone known for staying strong deep into games like Verlander. Those who know the Tigers under Leyland know that he has never pitched Verlander on short rest, and he probably never will.
Leyland didn't do it down the stretch in 2009, when the Tigers unsuccessfully tried to hold off the Twins in the American League Central. He didn't do it during Detroit's postseason run last year. He kept up a high degree of caution after he had two postseason starts shortened by rain.
Simply put, Leyland has never wanted to put Verlander's arm at risk. Leyland made that clear as recently as last year's AL Division Series, when he ruled out pitching Verlander in a decisive Game 5 on what would be his side session day after starting Game 4.
"I'm not going to pitch Justin Verlander," Leyland said then. "You can argue 'till the cows come home, I'm not going to do it. I don't think it's a wise decision. Those innings he pitched the other night, all the innings he's piled up this year, all the strikeouts, all the adrenaline, and the fact that he's throwing 100 mph in the eighth inning the other night, if he comes in this game tonight, there's no telling what he would be throwing with the way this crowd is going to be and everything. I just don't think it makes sense. I really don't."
Day later, Fister showing no ill effects from plunking
DETROIT -- Doug Fister made it through the Tigers' flight back home from San Francisco overnight and seemed fine, manager Jim Leyland said. Still, the right-hander spent Friday going through precautionary tests to make sure the team medical staff isn't missing anything after examining him immediately after Game 2 of the World Series.
"I did talk to him on the plane last night," Leyland told reporters before the Tigers' workout at Comerica Park, "and he seemed fine. He's a little sore, but there didn't appear to be anything that looked alarming like loss of memory.
"He looked fine, his eyes looked fine, and the trainers have checked him out, so I think he's fine."
That lines up with what Fister told reporters after the Tigers' 2-0 loss. The concern with such injuries is some symptoms aren't immediately apparent. When Alex Avila collided with Prince Fielder chasing a foul ball last month in Cleveland, for instance, he felt ill moving around for several days afterwards before feeling comfortable enough to play.
Avila's collision was more on the side of his head. Fister took the brunt of Gregor Blanco's liner off the back of his head.
Fister is currently lined up to pitch Game 6 if the Tigers win at least two out of the next three games to send the series back to San Francisco.
After sitting first two games, Dirks to play Saturday
DETROIT -- For the first two World Series games played in San Francisco, there was no designated hitter and two too many opposing left-handed starters for Andy Dirks to get into the Tigers' starting lineup.
That will change in Game 3 Saturday night. With Delmon Young back at DH and right-hander Ryan Vogelsong starting for the Giants, the left-handed-hitting Dirks will be in right field and Quintin Berry will be in left. In a potential Game 5, with left-hander Barry Zito in line to pitch for San Francisco, Dirks would be expected to move to right with Avisail Garcia in left.
Manager Jim Leyland is hoping that will spark an offense that scored three runs at AT&T Park.
"Berry gives us a different element with a little speed," said Leyland. "Dirks I actually moved behind Delmon. I think it's a pretty nice fit there. He's a pretty good contact hitter, got a pretty short stroke. So it's a little bit different lineup, but the thing that dictates it normally is the right-handed pitcher."
Tigers excited to be back home at Comerica Park
DETROIT -- The World Series logo is spray-painted on the field. The top of each dugout shows "World Series 2012." Even outside of Comerica Park, each individual light post is decorated with a World Series banner.
The Tigers are back home, and the ballpark is set for Saturday night's Game 3 of the Fall Classic. Despite being in an 0-2 hole, the players can still feel the buzz.
But what is the team most looking forward to after a pair of tough games in San Francisco?
"It definitely helps when people are not yelling, 'You [stink],'" catcher Alex Avila said.
The Tigers hope being at home brings them some good fortune. They've been a far superior team at home versus on the road, posting a 50-31 record in Detroit during the regular season and a 38-43 record elsewhere. They are also 4-0 at home in the postseason.
So the buzz has been felt all season long, but given the circumstances, the players know it'll reach its peak when the lights come on Saturday night -- and they hope to use it to their advantage to get back in the Series.
"Just feeling that excitement when you go out there. You're looking all over the field and you're seeing '2012 World Series,' and the fans are going crazy," center fielder Austin Jackson said. "It's just an unbelievable atmosphere. You feed off that."
Leyland not concerned about cold weather
DETROIT -- It's late October in Michigan, so it's not surprising that cold could be a factor when Game 3 of the World Series gets under way Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:07 p.m. first pitch) at Comerica Park. According to forecasts, the temperature at first pitch should be 43 degrees with a wind chill of 38.
"We have heaters in the dugouts for both teams. Ours is going to be a little warmer than theirs, but that's all right. We're not going to tell them that," manager Jim Leyland joked. "You know what? It's cold, but, I mean, this is the World Series. It's cold for everybody. It's cold for the fans, the beer is cold, everything is cold. It's great. Enjoy it."
For what it's worth, Leyland was wearing shorts during Friday's workout.
Catcher Alex Avila doesn't think low temperatures should be an issue.
"Playing in cold weather, I don't think any baseball player is a stranger to it," he said. "More than half the teams have to play in cold weather at the beginning of the season, and, obviously, in the postseason. Unless you're in a dome, it's going to be somewhat cold. That's just the way it is. You can't control the weather.
"Sometimes it can be difficult for a pitcher to have a grip on the ball on certain pitches, but again, it's just something that I've got to deal with."
Said Game 3 starter Anibal Sanchez: "When the nine players are on the field, I'm pretty sure nobody feels anything, especially the pitcher. [Pitchers] think too much, think about what pitch you have to make, what you have to do. The weather doesn't bother us too much. On the field, nobody's going to think too much about the weather."
Miggy named Player of the Year by Sporting News
DETROIT -- At this point, facing a 2-0 deficit heading into Game 3 of the World Series at Comerica Park on Saturday night, the Tigers aren't too concerned about individual awards. But they are starting to come in anyway.
The Sporting News announced third baseman Miguel Cabrera as its Player of the Year on Friday, making him the second straight Tiger to win the honor after Justin Verlander won it for his MVP season in 2011. They are the first to be named back-to-back winners since then-Mariners Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. won in 1996 and 1997.
The award is voted on by a panel of 203 players. Cabrera received 108 votes while 71 went to Angels rookie Mike Trout -- recently named Baseball America's Player of the Year -- and five went to Adrian Beltre. Ten others received four votes or less.
Cabrera led the American League in batting average (.330), home runs (44), and RBIs (139) on his way to becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
"He's the best hitter I've ever seen other than [Ted] Williams," Hall of Famer Al Kaline said in a statement released by the Tigers. "He's just amazing."
It's worth noting that The Sporting News' Player of the Year has also gone on to win their league's Most Valuable Player Award in every season since 2004.
Cabrera was also named the unanimous winner of the Luis Aparicio Award for the second straight year, which goes to the league's top Venezuelan player and is voted on by Spanish-speaking writers. He's the first person to win it three times.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.