Notes: Ramirez avoids major injury

Notes: Ramirez avoids major injury

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Wilkin Ramirez's promising Spring Training might be over, but his season shouldn't be in jeopardy.

What had been feared to be a serious injury to his left shoulder on a diving play in the outfield Friday looked less devastating on Saturday morning. The shoulder popped back in place following the temporary, partial dislocation, but the muscles had been stretched on the play to the point where they'll need a little time to heal.

Ramirez walked around the Tigers clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium in relatively good spirits.

"It feels better," Ramirez said. "A couple days, working hard, I'll be fine."

That doesn't necessarily mean he'll be back in games in the coming days. Moreover, the first round of camp cuts will likely be coming up in the next week or so.

"I would assume he's pretty much done for this camp," manager Jim Leyland said. "It's too bad."

Ramirez wasn't competing for a roster spot -- he's expected to start out the season at Double-A Erie -- but his performance in early games left a positive impression on teammates, coaches and fans. He was 7-for-16 with two home runs and seven RBIs at the time of the injury Friday, and he had started earning two to three at-bats a game.

Asked if he expects to be ready to open the season, though, Ramirez sounded confident in his chances.

Rodney, Rapada set for mound work: Left-hander Clay Rapada was scheduled to throw a side session off of a mound Saturday for the first time since being sidelined with shoulder tendinitis. Additionally, Leyland said setup man Fernando Rodney is on track to do the same early next week.

Both have been working their way back to action by playing catch without pain. Rodney is slated to have one more such session, throwing from 60 feet off flat ground Sunday morning.

Cabrera fine: What was a nice play in the field by Miguel Cabrera at third base on Saturday became a brief scare when he came up grabbing at his right leg around the knee. He remained in the game to finish the inning and was out of the game when the Tigers came back.

Cabrera said afterwards that it was just a minor scrape on his right knee, suffered when he slid to the ground to smother Sal Fasano's ground ball. He got back up and fired strong to first to convert the first out of the bottom of the fifth inning. It was solid job of fielding, Leyland said, though he had extra time to make the play with the slow-footed Fasano running down the first-base line.

It was an athletic play by someone who, despite his big frame, has a chance to be what Leyland calls a "very, very good" third baseman.

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"He's a big guy," Leyland said. "He's a prototype third baseman of yesteryear, a big, strong power hitter on the corner. He has very soft hands and a tremendous arm."

Cabrera's timing at the plate remains a work in progress. He went 0-for-3 at the plate, reaching base in the third inning on a run-scoring error by third baseman Scott Rolen. He's now 3-for-21 for the spring, and Leyland said again that he needs to play to get his timing with his bat.

More changeups from Bonderman: The pitching line for Jeremy Bonderman from Saturday didn't read well, with three runs on five hits over four innings, including a Rolen home run to lead off the second. In the ongoing process of Bonderman's changeup, however, it was another successful step.

"I threw a lot more," he said. "The changeup was way better than last week. I'm keeping it down and getting some aggressive takes."

Leyland said the Tigers' staff made sure Bonderman threw some extra changeups before he closed out his afternoon just shy of the 50-pitch mark.

All three of the runs Bonderman allowed and four of the hits came in the second inning. Rolen's home run came off of a fastball. The damage could've been worse, but Bonderman escaped further scoring by getting David Eckstein to ground into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second and Alex Rios on deck.

Coming up: The Tigers return to Lakeland after back-to-back days on the road to host the Pirates in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Nate Robertson will make his third start of Spring Training, followed by Todd Jones, Aquilino Lopez, Tim Byrdak and Preston Larrison. Phil Dumatrait is the scheduled starter for Pittsburgh. The game will be broadcast online via MLB Gameday Audio and in the Detroit area on 97.1 FM and AM 1270.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.