DETROIT -- The last time the Tigers went to Fenway Park, in the thick of a playoff race last summer, Nick Castellanos was there. He was playing for Double-A Erie, and he took the team's off-day on the road to drive down from New Hampshire with Avisail Garcia. They wanted to soak in the atmosphere for a day before getting back to their climb, and they were as much fans as baseball players.
As he learned Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio, that he got the big league call and suddenly had to pack for a three-city trip with a much stricter dress code than a Triple-A bus, it hit him. He's heading back to Fenway Park on Monday, this time as a Major Leaguer.
"It's going to feel that much better going there for real this time," he said.
First was Sunday's series finale against the Indians in Detroit, where two Triple-A teammates -- infielder Danny Worth and reliever Evan Reed -- both joined him as September callups. Castellanos entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and flied out, then remained in the game in left field. He batted again in the ninth inning of Detroit's 4-0 loss, grounding out to shortstop.
Luke Putkonen will join the team Monday in Boston, manager Jim Leyland announced. Catcher Bryan Holaday, and relievers Jeremy Bonderman and Jose Alvarez will join the team on Tuesday.
Castellanos might still be a spectator to some degree. The Tigers have their mix in left field, and while Castellanos will likely get some time there, he's not taking over. But as team officials have said all along, they don't add September callups just to take up space. When they discussed whether to call up their top prospect, they did it with the intent to use him.
"We think he's earned a spot to come up with us at this point," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He's done a nice job for us. We look at him as a very valuable person within our organization for years to come, and we think being here in September, not only will he help us, but it'll be good experience for him."
Castellanos, for his part, is ready for whatever they have for him.
"My role's going to be whatever [Leyland] needs me for, whenever he needs me," Castellanos said. "Whether it's go in against a lefty late in a game, whether it's a pinch-hit, whether it's a pinch-run, whether it's to pitch, it doesn't matter. I'm here to do whatever I can to try to help this team win. Coming in late in games, that's something I'm going to have to try to learn how to do, because I've never really done that before.
"I'm sure that I'll talk to these guys. We've got awesome guys on the team that will let me know things that I need to do."
That learning process will give him a head start on next season, when he likely has a chance to earn a regular role out of camp. His bat, the one that hit .276 with 18 home runs and 76 RBIs for Toledo, will give the Tigers some punch off the bench.
Inside, however, there's still going to be that kid soaking everything in. Even in the quiet of a Sunday morning clubhouse, Castellanos' excitement was evident.
"We're playing for something," Castellanos said. "I'm going to take everything in, I'm going to learn as much as I can, and I'm going to enjoy the ride, because it's going to be a lot of fun."
Miggy sits for finale, though Leyland encouraged
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera was out of the Tigers' lineup again Sunday, still receiving treatment on the abdominal strain that forced his early exit Thursday and Friday, and kept him on the bench Saturday. However, manager Jim Leyland showed some encouragement that Cabrera's making progress.
"He was moving around a little bit today, smiling, came down on the bench a little bit," Leyland said. "He got treated all day. I can't tell you when he'll play. I don't really know the answer to that."
The Tigers begin a three-game series Monday afternoon in Boston, where the results could have a huge impact on the best record in the American League and home-field advantage for the postseason.
Cabrera hit .333 (10-for-30) with four doubles, a home run and six RBIs over seven games at Fenway Park last year, so his return could change the tone of the series. However, the Tigers appear intent on making sure he's in playing shape when he returns, not just hobbling through with an impact swing.
Ramon Santiago started at third base Sunday for the second straight game. Torii Hunter again batted third.
Tigers shut down Dotel after setback in Triple-A
DETROIT -- Octavio Dotel has been part of the past two World Series with the Tigers and Cardinals. It does not appear he'll be back this October, whether the Tigers get there or not.
"Right now, he's just not feeling 100 percent, so we're basically shutting him down," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "It's a situation where we don't plan on him rejoining us. His arm's bothering him. He's just not 100 percent."
The team recalled Dotel from his Minor League rehab assignment, but will not activate him from the disabled list. The forearm tightness that forced him out of Friday's game at Triple-A Toledo is a season-ending injury, if not worse.
"What happened was when he went up to Toledo, he tried to get a little more [on his fastball]," manager Jim Leyland said. "He did get a little more, but the forearm just tightened right up and he just didn't feel like he was ready to compete at this level."
Dotel returned to Detroit this weekend for an examination from team doctors and he could seek an additional opinion from a specialist.
Dotel will be a 40-year-old free agent in November, so any injury that requires a lengthy rehab could be career threatening. Neither Leyland nor Dombrowski know Dotel's future plans.
He has pitched 951 innings over 758 Major League games for a record 13 different teams in his 15-year career.
"Dotel's had a great career, won a world championship," Leyland said. "I wish he was on the club and I wish everything was going right. And who knows, he might be contemplating trying to pitch next year. I'm not saying this is career ending. I'm just saying, right now, he's not going to be available for the Tigers."
Jackson sits for matinee after collision with wall
DETROIT -- Austin Jackson had not yet dragged his aching body to Comerica Park for a status report Sunday when manager Jim Leyland filled out his lineup card without Jackson in it. Even if Jackson could play, Leyland figured a day game off after a night-game collision with Comerica Park's center-field wall made sense.
"I'm just real suspicious that he's going to be pretty sore," Leyland said, "so I'm going to give him a blow today. I don't think it's a matter that he can't play. I think it's a matter that his [neck] area was pretty sore last night. He hit kind of awkward, really."
Jackson said he couldn't throw and was struggling to turn to either side when he arrived at the park Sunday morning. He was feeling better after Sunday's 4-0 loss, but said he's day to day.
"Hopefully [Monday I can] get it loose and get that range of motion back in there," Jackson said.
Most of the discomfort was around his neck, he said. His shoulder was sore, but manageable.
With Jackson out, Don Kelly started in center field, while Andy Dirks batted leadoff.
Tigers part ways with Triple-A manager Nevin
DETROIT -- The Tigers parted ways with Triple-A Toledo manager Phil Nevin after five seasons in the organization, the last three with the Mud Hens.
The move was announced in Toledo, Ohio, after Saturday's game, the last home game of the season for the team. Tigers Minor League baserunning coordinator Gene Roof, who has spent much of the year in Toledo doing outfield work with top prospect Nick Castellanos, will manage the team for its final two games in Columbus, Ohio.
Nevin, a former Tigers player who rejoined the organization to manage Double-A Erie in 2009, went 61-81 this season with the Hens and 188-242 managing in the organization. The Tigers told Nevin earlier this week and gave him the option to finish out the season, according to John Wagner of the Toledo Blade, but he opted to return home to California after the Mud Hens' final home game.
"Phil's done a good job for us," Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Sunday morning. "He's a good person. He's worked hard. He's a good man, been part of us for a while. Sometimes you just need to change the voice. But it is a difficult decision, because he's a good person who's worked hard for us and given his all."
Dombrowski said the Tigers haven't started a search for Nevin's replacement. Two former Mud Hens managers, Larry Parrish and Bruce Fields, returned to the organization this year. Parrish, the Hens' all-time leader in managerial wins, managed this year at Class A West Michigan. Fields, who managed in Toledo in 2001-02, is the organization's Minor League hitting coordinator.