DETROIT -- Sunday night was a performance to behold for at least one Tiger, even if it was in defeat. As Matt Tuiasosopo stepped to the plate time and again, only to toss his bat and take his base, he was walking his way to a career best.
What, you were thinking about Miguel Cabrera's three-homer performance? Actually, what Tuiasosopo did Sunday -- walking four times in a game without any of them intentional -- is something not even Cabrera has done as a Tiger.
In fact, just three other Tigers have done it since 2000. Austin Jackson did it once in each of the previous two seasons. Brennan Boesch and Gary Sheffield did it once each. All of them were regulars. Tuiasosopo is not, but his at-bats earned him a rare start against a right-hander Tuesday night in Cleveland, which started Corey Kluber.
Tuiasosopo made the team as an aggressive, lefty-pounding power hitter, and he has far exceeded expectations. Yet he had never walked more than twice in a big league game, nor had he walked more than three times in a Minor League game.
Three of those walks Sunday night came after Tuiasosopo worked the count full, one of them battling out of an 0-2 hole.
"He obviously did a pretty good job the other night," manager Jim Leyland said.
Those at-bats, plus a huge reverse split for Kluber, earned Tuiasosopo the start. Right-handed batters entered Tuesday hitting .357 (20-for-56) off Kluber, compared to .256 (14-for-57) for left-handed hitters.
"He's done a good job against left-handers, hitting over .400, so I ran him out there tonight," Leyland said. "He might run into one, I don't know, but he's giving us good at-bats."
Dotel's recovery will require rehab assignment
DETROIT -- Octavio Dotel has resumed throwing on schedule as the Tigers try to work him back slowly from the elbow inflammation that has sidelined him for a month.
Dotel was shut down a little more than a week ago after experiencing more discomfort while throwing. After a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews confirmed no structural damage, Dotel went on a six-day medication cycle. So far, he has come out of that throwing pain-free at the Tigers' Spring Training complex in Florida.
The plan is for Dotel to begin a throwing progression that will eventually lead to a Minor League rehab assignment, meaning it will still be a while before Dotel returns, even if all goes well.
The Tigers have struggled to fill Dotel's right-handed middle relief role. Al Alburquerque is back at Triple-A Toledo now, trying to find his command, while Jose Ortega has taken on a good amount of righty middle work.
Prospect Worth remains shut down with heel injury
DETROIT -- Tigers infield prospect Danny Worth was shut down from baseball activity again last week after suffering a setback with his bruised right heel.
The Triple-A Toledo shortstop, who was one of the Tigers' last cuts out of Spring Training, had resumed running and was taking ground balls, but felt pain in the heel when he tried to pick up his activity while running in spikes with a protective heel pad. It's the same activity that gave him trouble earlier.
Worth is shut down from most activity until he's pain free. He took throws at first base and fielded ground balls hit directly at him during batting practice at Triple-A Toledo this past weekend, but nothing that involves moving around.
The plan, Worth said, is to head to Florida after the Mud Hens' homestand ends Wednesday so that he can work out at extended spring training. Worth said he's hoping he can play in some extended spring games and rejoin the Hens next week during their road series in Charlotte, N.C., though that may be optimistic.
Worth hasn't played since bruising the heel on a play at first base on April 17. The injury is similar to the one that sidelined Avisail Garcia for about a month.
Longtime GM Cook to represent Tigers at Draft
DETROIT -- For the second consecutive year, the Tigers will use the First-Year Player Draft to pay homage to a longtime Major League general manager on their staff.
Once again, Murray Cook will serve as the Tigers' representative for the first night of the First-Year Player Draft on June 6 at MLB Network's Studio 42. Unlike last year, he'll actually have a pick to announce.
The Tigers went three years without a first-round selection, having surrendered them as free-agent compensation. Because of that, their participation in Major League Baseball's new tradition of honoring former legends as draft reps has been pretty much invisible.
This year, they not only kept their first-round pick, but added a sandwich pick at the end of the first round that they acquired from the Marlins in last season's trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
They'll get to honor Cook, who served as general manager of the Yankees, Expos and Reds during the 1980s. Though his highest-profile job was the GM post under George Steinbrenner in New York, he made his name for taking chances to accumulate talent that paid off in three seasons in Montreal.
Some of that came from trading established stars. When the Expos traded Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, Cook swung the deal for a package that included Hubie Brooks, who became an All-Star shortstop in Montreal. Cook pounced when the Orioles decided to trade Dennis Martinez, who went on to three All-Star selections, an ERA title and a perfect game as an Expo. Another risky signing, Pascual Perez, posted a 7-0 record in 1987 and threw a rain-shortened no-hitter in 1988.
Cook also made a key pickup for the front office when he hired Dave Dombrowski, who had just been let go by then-White Sox general manager Ken Harrelson, to become the Expos' director of Minor League clubs in December 1986. A year and a half later, Dombrowski became the Expos' general manager, and he now serves as Tigers president, CEO and general manager.
Though Cook became known in Cincinnati as the Reds' general manager during the Pete Rose scandal, he put together several of the pieces that helped lead them to the World Series in 1990. Cook traded for a talented young arm in Jose Rijo soon after his hire, sent Kal Daniels to the Dodgers for Mariano Duncan, and acquired Todd Benzinger in the Nick Esasky trade.
Cook has had a second career as a scout over the past two decades, including stints working for Dombrowski with the Marlins until 2002 and with the Tigers since 2007. He currently scouts central Florida and the Northeast for the Tigers' draft efforts.
• The Tigers will join other teams across Major League Baseball in wearing camouflage-colored jerseys and caps on Memorial Day, when they host the Pirates in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Comerica Park.
• As odd as it seems to have an off-day in Cleveland, less than three hours from Detroit, it was a blessing after Sunday night's game in Texas. The team arrived in Cleveland around 4:30 a.m. ET Monday morning.
• Alburquerque, optioned to Triple-A Toledo last Wednesday, has reported to the Mud Hens after missing the weekend. Alburquerque returned home to the Dominican Republic to attend to a personal matter, according to the Tigers, and the team gave him permission to take longer than the usual 72-hour window to report.
• Brayan Villarreal says he feels fine, but is trying to repeat his delivery from one inning to the next as he works through his ups and downs at Triple-A Toledo. Villarreal has tossed back-to-back solid outings since walking the bases loaded last Thursday.