Upton back after rolled ankle; Anibal progressing

Upton back after rolled ankle; Anibal progressing

CLEARWATER Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus gave positive news on the team's injury front on Thursday. Not only was outfielder Justin Upton feeling better after rolling his left ankle Wednesday, but Ausmus put him into the lineup as the designated hitter against the Phillies after Upton texted him asking to play.

Upton left Wednesday's game against the Nationals in the second inning after center fielder Anthony Gose accidently spiked Upton in a near collision.

"I talked to him this morning, and he said he was good to go," Ausmus said. "It wasn't the spike, it was Gose's foot that landed on top of [Upton's ankle] and caused it to roll."

That's good news for Detroit, which is already shorthanded in the outfield after center fielder Cameron Maybin suffered a fractured left wrist a week ago.

Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, dealing with bronchitis, is scheduled to pitch live batting practice Friday. He has been limited for the past two weeks because of bronchitis. On Tuesday, the right-hander threw a 50-pitch bullpen session, and he is trending in the right direction, according to Ausmus.

"He was working out this morning in the weight room, so he must be feeling better," Ausmus said. "He's on track for live BP, and then we'll take it from there."

Ausmus was not worried about the 32-year-old's conditioning or the fact that Sanchez hasn't pitched in a Grapefruit League game yet.

"If [Sanchez] stays on course from here, we should be fine," Ausmus said. "He should be able to get to 90 pitches or so."

Greg Zeck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.