Davis to be a game-time decision for Tigers

Nursing pelvic sprain; cold weather conditions may be factor

Davis to be a game-time decision for Tigers

DETROIT -- Rajai Davis will again be a game-time decision for the Tigers after he tests out his legs Sunday. The weather he'll be trying to play through might be as much of a concern as his pelvic ligament sprain.

"The weather is certainly a concern," manager Brad Ausmus said Saturday, "because in Game 1, as it got cooler, he said it tightened up."

The forecast for Game 3 of the American League Division Series calls for a game-time temperature of 53 degrees. That said, the injury tightened again in Game 2 without dropping temperatures. And as the Tigers run Davis through drills, they'll have to try to guess how many innings they can get out of him.

"I don't know if it'll make it a bigger concern," Davis said of the weather. "I might have to do more, though, during the game to stay warm, stay stretched out, not be as tight."

  Date   Matchup/Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 2   BAL 12, DET 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   BAL 7, DET 6 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   BAL 2, DET 1 video

Asked if he could play if there was a game Saturday, Davis paused.

"I'm glad there's not," he said, "so I don't have to make that decision."

As for Sunday, he said, "I'm not sure about anything. I'm just going to keep getting better, keep getting stronger, faster."

Davis spent Saturday getting treatment. He did not take the field for the team's midday workout on the field at Comerica Park. If Sunday is like the previous two game days, he'll need to take batting practice and do at least some light running in order to be ready. The cooler weather also might lead Davis to do more work between innings, such as riding the exercise bike in the clubhouse, when he's not due up to bat.

Beyond that, the Tigers will have to figure out how well Davis can accelerate without risking an aggravation of the injury. That, Davis said Friday, has been the crux of the problem.

"When you're on bases, it's pretty much all explosion and all quickness," Davis said. "In the outfield, a lot of your plays are not going to be running plays. A lot of fly balls, easy outs. Gotta deal with it."

At this point, with the Tigers needing to win three in a row to avoid elimination, taking Davis off the roster for a replacement does not appear to be an option. Ezequiel Carrera is the likely candidate to start in center field if Davis can't play, but Ausmus did not rule out utility man Don Kelly, who started three games in center in September.

"Yeah, Don Kelly would be in the mix," Ausmus said.

Worth noting

Joba Chamberlain traveled after Saturday's workout to nearby East Lansing, Mich., to watch his Nebraska Cornhuskers face Michigan State in a Big Ten football matchup, but he came to the defense of the Tigers' bullpen amid critiques of Detroit's eighth-inning damage in each of the last two games.

"I could really give two [bits] about that, to be honest with you," he said. "At the end of the day, it's a critique, but we've got to play every day, and we know how good we are down there. That's it. … Obviously, through the ups and the downs, we've done our jobs most of the time. We know how good we are. A critique is a critique, but you get out to 60 feet, 6 inches, and tell me how easy it is."

• Ausmus said Anibal Sanchez would be available for Game 3 after throwing 30 pitches in Game 2. Sanchez said he expected to be ready whenever needed.

"I just need to be ready all the time," he said. "I don't like a day or two. I think if they need me, I'm just going to do my job."

• The Tigers are bringing back former All-Star second baseman Placido Polanco to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday. Former closer Todd Jones is expected to get the call Monday, if the series goes to Game 4.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.