BOSTON -- The anticipation over top prospect Nick Castellanos' first Major League start might not last much longer. Tigers manager Jim Leyland strongly hinted that he could start Castellanos in left field this coming weekend in Kansas City.
"That's a possibility," Leyland said Wednesday.
The Tigers are scheduled to face consecutive left-handed starters over the weekend -- Danny Duffy on Saturday, Bruce Chen on Sunday. Leyland said he plans on starting Dirks against Chen, who is allowing a much higher batting average (.265) and OPS (.790) to left-handed hitters than right-handed batters (.214, .580).
Dirks is 6-for-17 lifetime off Chen, including a single and two deep flyouts Aug. 18 at Comerica Park.
Leyland's usual choice in left field against lefties, Matt Tuiasosopo, struck out three times against Boston's Jon Lester on Tuesday to deepen his second-half struggles. Tuiasosopo's batting .194 (12-for-62) with seven walks and 22 strikeouts since the All-Star break, including 7-for-49 with five walks and 20 strikeouts against left-handers.
The Tigers have tried to temper expectations for Castellanos, added to the Tigers roster as a September callup on Sunday. His lone at-bat so far has been a pinch-hit appearance Sunday against the Indians.
With free agency looming, Infante switches agents
BOSTON -- Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante were teammates in Miami before they came over to Detroit last summer, and they've been friends for a while. Now they are both clients of the same agent, with Infante switching his representation to Gene Mato.
Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com first reported the switch on Twitter. Infante confirmed the change on Wednesday, noting he made the change earlier this summer.
Infante had been represented by Octagon and agent Alan Nero for most of his career. It's not uncommon anymore for players to switch agents before going into free agency. Jose Valverde jumped to Scott Boras last year, and Carlos Guillen went to Octagon and Scott Pucino in his final season in Detroit. Infante said the move wasn't about free agency, but the timing still sets up Mato to lead Infante into the market.
Mato spent last winter negotiating a five-year contract for Sanchez with the Tigers last year.
Infante is finishing up a two-year, $8 million contract he signed to stick with the Marlins in September 2011. The second baseman avoided the open market that year because he was finishing up a down season, but he'll go into this offseason with some of the strongest numbers of his career.
Infante's .319 batting average, .453 slugging percentage and .799 OPS heading into Wednesday night's game vs. the Red Sox all would be career highs for him in a season. Infante turns 32 in December, but depending on what happens with Robinson Cano, he could be set up to become one of the top middle infielders on the free-agent market this winter.
Infante said Wednesday he hasn't yet thought about free agency, but he intends to wait until the offseason before deciding on his future.
His situation could make things interesting for the Tigers. Hernan Perez, who is ranked the organization's No. 8 prospect by MLB.com, seems to be in line as Detroit's second baseman of the future, especially defensively, but it isn't clear whether that future would be as soon as 2014.
Iglesias listed as day to day with shin splints
BOSTON -- The Tigers were able to take the insult of a 20-4 loss to the Red Sox Wednesday night at Fenway. It's the injury to Jose Iglesias that had them concerned as they left town.
Iglesias left in the fifth inning with shin splints in both legs. Though his fourth-inning dash down the first-base line to beat out a double play throw seemingly had him hobbling afterwards, the injury dates back before that.
"It's been bothering him a little bit before," manager Jim Leyland said after the game. "It just got a little worse tonight, so we got him out."
Iglesias told MLive.com that he has been dealing with shin splints for most of the season.
The Tigers listed Iglesias as day to day, as they have Thursday off before beginning a three-game series at Kansas City on Friday.
Iglesias, playing for a third consecutive night at his old home park, put on a show for the first half of the game. He manufactured Detroit's first run in the third inning by bunting his way on base and going first to third on an Austin Jackson single, setting himself up to score on Torii Hunter's groundout. Iglesias followed that up in the field in the bottom half of the inning by hurdling Shane Victorino in front of second base to turn a double play.
An inning later, Iglesias stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out before hitting a ground ball to third. He sped down the first-base line and seemingly hit the bag hard ahead of Dustin Pedroia's throw, allowing Don Kelly to score the Tigers' fourth run.
Iglesias appeared to be walking awkwardly after the play, but he stayed in the game. Ramon Santiago replaced Iglesias at shortstop in the bottom of the fifth.
"We just didn't want to take any chances," Leyland said.
Leyland and teammates were raving about Iglesias for much of the series in Boston, where Iglesias came up before the Red Sox sent him to Detroit on July 30 in a three-team trade. Not only has the 23-year-old filled the void at shortstop left by Jhonny Peralta's suspension a month ago, he has provided a defensive flair the Tigers haven't seen at the position in years.
Leyland doesn't second-guess Brookens' move
BOSTON -- A day later, Tigers manager Jim Leyland still believes his third-base coach was right to send Brayan Pena home Tuesday night, even though Tom Brookens regretted the wave in hindsight.
"Brookens made me mad, because his comment was that he felt like he was too aggressive and shouldn't have sent him," Leyland said. "I totally disagree with that. I think he should've sent him. I loved the call.
"It's two outs. They made two good relays. I've seen balls hit the mound. I've been balls skip off. To me, that was a no-brainer. You send him with two outs, make them make both plays. I disagree with Tom. I think he made a great call. That ball [Jose Iglesias] went all the way to the wall."
Iglesias' double skipped past center fielder Shane Victorino, allowing Omar Infante to score easily from third. Pena was trying to score from first, but seemingly ran out of gas before Stephen Drew's throw beat him by at least 12 feet for the third out of the inning.
"You know what's wrong when people second-guess stuff like that? They always assume that the next guy's going to get a hit," Leyland said. "It doesn't happen very often."
Austin Jackson was on deck. He doubled off Jon Lester in the opening inning, but was 2-for-10 lifetime against Lester entering the game.
• The Tigers were guarded in their reaction to Boston mayor Thomas Menino's comments that he would like to visit Detroit so he could "blow up the place and start all over." However, Leyland had some advice for the mayor.
"He ought to worry about getting the Boston visiting clubhouse fixed," Leyland said, referring to Fenway Park's cramped surroundings for visiting teams.
• Pena and Bryan Holaday worked out early Wednesday afternoon behind the plate at Fenway Park, getting a refresher course on footwork. Detroit catchers have thrown out just 12.7 percent of would-be basestealers this season, allowing 110 stolen bases while throwing out 16 baserunners.
• Thursday marks the 10th anniversary of Mike Maroth's 20th loss in 2003. The former Tiger gave up eight runs on nine hits over three-plus innings in Toronto on Sept. 5, 2003, the day after the death of his grandmother. He became the first Major League pitcher since Brian Kingman in 1980 to lose 20 games in a season; Kingman made the trip to Toronto and was on hand for the game. No pitcher has lost 20 games in a season since; nobody has lost more than 17 since 2007.