Tigers hope Maybin moving toward return

Center fielder still needs to play position, but may not need much more rehab time once he does

Tigers hope Maybin moving toward return

CLEVELAND -- Two days after utility infielder Andrew Romine made his first Major League appearance in center field to open the Tigers' series against the Indians, he was in the starting lineup there to end it. Anthony Gose, who had played all but one inning of every game since Tyler Collins was optioned to Triple-A Toledo last week, was on the bench.

That says a lot about the Tigers' situation in center. With Cameron Maybin still waiting to make his first rehab start in center at Triple-A Toledo, the situation isn't likely to change until at least early next week.

The Tigers are hoping that Maybin -- whose right shoulder injury while rehabbing a left wrist fracture has limited him to designated hitter since he resumed his rehab assignment last week -- can start in center for Toledo on Friday. That depends on how his arm feels when he throws during batting practice beforehand, according to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Once Maybin gets out there, Ausmus said, he should return fairly quickly.

"If his arm was healthy, he probably wouldn't need more than two or three [games], I would think," Ausmus said. "The hard part is you can stick him out there and he might not get a play in three games. It would be unlikely that he wouldn't get any plays, but point being he might not get many. I wouldn't think it would take more than two or three games if his arm was good. He's had plenty of at-bats."

Gose has essentially been an everyday center fielder for long stretches this season. He entered Thursday batting .208 (15-for-72) with two home runs, eight walks and 28 strikeouts. He has twice as many strikeouts as hits against right-handed pitching.

Quick hits

• The Tigers are likely to have a representative around when former Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum holds his pitching showcase, reportedly Friday, but they're not expected to be serious pursuers. Their scouting would be more out of diligence to see what the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner has left after undergoing hip surgery.

Miguel Cabrera has been doing extra work taking ground balls at third base this week in anticipation of potential playing time there when the Tigers visit the Nationals next week. It'll be the third Interleague series already this year in which the Tigers won't have the designated hitter slot available, but it'll be the first where Victor Martinez is a realistic option to play first base.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.