Upton gets time to clear head; Presley in left

Journeyman outfielder makes Tigers debut; Moya optioned to Triple-A

Upton gets time to clear head; Presley in left

DETROIT -- When Tigers manager Brad Ausmus sat Justin Upton out of Wednesday's game, he was asked if he thought about sitting Upton for a few days, like the Pirates did with Andrew McCutchen. They considered it, Ausmus said at the time.

Turns out it was more than a consideration.

"It was going to be three days, originally," Ausmus said before Thursday's 4-3 win over the Red Sox. "I just didn't tell you."

Thus, Alex Presley -- called up from Triple-A Toledo on Thursday morning to provide Detroit protection in center field with Tyler Collins likely out for a couple of days -- made his Tigers debut in left, with Andrew Romine starting in center. And Upton got an extended period to both clear his head and work on his swing -- although he was summoned as a pinch-runner in the Tigers' three-run eighth and came around to score the go-ahead run.

"He understood the reasoning behind it," Ausmus said. "We're trying to get him right, so it's hopefully to get him back to the type of hitter he is -- somewhat by hitting a reset button. And if that can happen, then he's going to help the Tigers a lot. It gives him a couple days to clear his mind, maybe work on a few things."

Wednesday also wasn't a total day off for Upton, who entered the game as a defensive replacement when Collins exited with a bruised right knee. Upton's eighth-inning strikeout extended his slump to 1-for-31 with nine strikeouts since Aug. 9.

With Steven Moya optioned to Triple-A to make room for Presley, it's likely that Presley and Romine will start in left and center field again Friday night against former Tiger Rick Porcello, barring any additional moves. Cameron Maybin continues to shag fly balls, but he has yet to pick up a bat as he rehabs his sprained left thumb.

Presley's Detroit debut Thursday came just over a month after he joined the organization on a Minor League contract. The 31-year-old said Thursday that he nearly joined the Tigers last offseason before signing with the Brewers in mid-December. He played 47 games with Milwaukee this season, batting .198 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

"Any time you're in a big league clubhouse, it's a privilege," Presley said, "and you want to take advantage of the opportunity."

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.