video thumbnail

LAD@SD: Haren tosses six solid frames vs. Padres

American League pitchers have had little success cooling off Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter's bat so far this season. After an 0-for-9 start, Hunter has raised his average to .300 with home runs in each of Detroit's past three games.

"When you're hot, the ball slows itself down. It doesn't matter who's pitching," Hunter said Saturday. "You feel good, you have good at-bats. It started [Friday] with good swings and it just carried over. No matter who pitched, if I felt bad, then I'm going to be bad. Because I felt good, that's the way it goes."

Dan Haren hopes to make a difference when his Dodgers begin Interleague Play against the Tigers on Tuesday at 10:10 p.m. ET. Haren, who is 1-0 after allowing no earned runs through six innings in his first start, will face Max Scherzer, who threw eight innings of shutout ball in his 2014 debut.

Scherzer has been bunting since the second-to-last week of Spring Training in preparation for the early Interleague series. More recently, he has moved into the batting cages. During batting practice before Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Orioles, Scherzer hit a sharp line drive at his manager, Brad Ausmus, who was tossing at the time.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner said that the most important components to succeeding with his name in the lineup are getting a bunt down if needed and getting a feel for the strike zone. Scherzer has not had a plate appearance since August 24, when he doubled home a run in a win over the Mets.

Once the pitchers have adjusted to the strike zone, Scherzer said what follows is pitch recognition. To prepare, he'll have the coaches throw him plenty of offspeed pitches.

"It's a work in progress," Scherzer said of his swing. "But it's fun."

Scherzer will likely get plate appearances in two games out west, as his turn is scheduled to come up again against the Padres later in the trip.

"When [Interleague Play] comes this early in the season, you've got to get rid of your golf swing. ... "I've got to realize that I'm not coming around the ball anymore -- I'm staying inside the ball."

Haren, who spent six years pitching in the AL split between the A's and Angels, is 5-4 in 11 career starts vs. Detroit and will be making his home debut in a Dodgers uniform.

Tigers: Martinez likely to catch during Interleague trip
Detroit's Victor Martinez was away from his usual designated hitter position for the first time this season Sunday. He swapped with Miguel Cabrera, giving the slugger a break from fielding.

"Any time you're on the field, it makes you feel a little better," Martinez said. "But I understand my role: to get Miggy off his feet a bit."

Ausmus said before Sunday's game that Martinez should be expected to catch at least one game during the West Coast swing. Usual catcher Alex Avila was given the day off Sunday in favor of Bryan Holaday.

Dodgers: Beckett still an option to start Wednesday
Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, on the disabled list with a bruised hand, was still a possibility to start next week after injuring his ankle in a Friday night Minor League rehab start, manager Don Mattingly said Saturday.

Beckett tossed a bullpen session Sunday, leaving him in the mix for a Wednesday return to oppose Detroit's Anibal Sanchez.

The Dodgers were pointing Beckett toward Wednesday night's game in hopes of giving extra rest to Hyun-Jin Ryu. Thursday is an off-day and, ideally, Ryu would be rested until Friday night.

If Beckett doesn't start Wednesday, the Dodgers would either give the ball again to Ryu on normal rest or call up a Minor Leaguer. Matt Magill started for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday, so it would be his regular day to pitch.

Worth noting
• With his first two punchouts Sunday, Justin Verlander claimed sole possession of fourth place on the Tigers' all-time strikeouts list with 1,675. He moved past Tommy Bridges.

• Hunter has now homered in three straight games for the fourth time in his career and the first time since May 17-19, 2010.

• The Tigers have homered in each of the first five games to start the season for just the fifth time in franchise history and the first since 2009.

MLB.com Comments