Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Calf injury strikes out Tigers' Casey


First baseman Sean Casey ducks a pitch from Barry Zito in the third inning Tuesday, but he couldn't escape injury in the sixth.


OAKLAND - It could be a while before first baseman Sean Casey returns to the Detroit Tigers' lineup.

Casey had an MRI on his injured left calf last night prior to Game 2 of the AL championship series.

The news was not good.

"I can't give you an exact update because I can't pronounce those fancy medical terms," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But there's a tear of some type of a muscle around the bigger muscle.

"I asked the trainer, 'If it was a burn, would it be first, second or third-degree?' And he said, 'Second.'•"

Casey said he suffered a similar injury a few years ago and missed roughly a week, so his status for the rest of the playoffs is uncertain.

He said he heard something pop in the sixth inning of Game 1 as he left the batter's box.

After taking a few steps, he clutched his calf.

Casey was unable to run out the ground ball, was thrown out at first and then hobbled to the clubhouse.

"I felt a pop coming out of the box," he said. "I looked back because I thought maybe I hit myself with the bat, or maybe [Oakland catcher] Jason Kendall jumped me or something. I didn't know what happened."

Casey, a left-handed batter who hit No. 3 in the Tigers' lineup, said he felt the calf first tighten up two innings earlier while running from first to second. He received treatment in the clubhouse.

Casey is the team's only true first baseman.

Chris Shelton accompanied the team here and is in uniform, but he is not on the 25-man ALCS roster.

Teams can't make roster moves during a series.

"We'll have to go with the combination of [Ramon] Santiago and [Neifi] Perez and [Omar] Infante [at shortstop], and [Carlos] Guillen at first base," Leyland said. "And we'll have to get through it the best we can."

After Casey left Game 1, Santiago replaced Guillen at shortstop and Guillen moved to first.

Perez started at shortstop last night and batted second. And Guillen, who made an error in the seventh inning of Game 1 after replacing Casey, was back at first.

"I've played first base before, so it's no big deal," Guillen said. "I will play wherever they want me, or need me. I don't feel any extra pressure playing first base. I have some experience there."

Casey, a lifetime .302 hitter who batted just .245 after the Tigers acquired him from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the July 31 trading deadline, had a .350 average in five postseason games.

"It's frustrating to get hurt in the ALCS because you play your whole life to play in these games," Casey said.

ROGERS RETURNS: Kenny Rogers didn't start either of the first two games of the ALCS here, which was a bit of a surprise.

The crafty left-hander has been an A's killer over the years, going 25-4 in 56 career games, including 23-1 in 41 starts at McAfee Coliseum since 1995.

He leads all active pitchers with 21 victories against the A's.

Rogers will start Game 3 tomorrow night opposite Oakland's Rich Harden in Detroit.

It comes a week after Rogers stifled Randy Johnson and the New York Yankees in 72/3 innings of shutout ball in Game 3 of the AL division series at Comerica Park.

Rogers likely would pitch Game 7 in the ALCS in the Bay area if the series goes that far.

"I don't put too much emphasis into what I've done in the past," said Rogers, who went 21-11 during 1998 and half of 1999 with the A's. "Anyone who puts a lot on what they've done in the past is setting themselves up for failure. That's what the Yankees did against us.

"I should have lost some games here, they got me off the hook sometimes. I've pitched well here sometimes, and sometimes it's been quirky twists of fate."

LOCAL FLAVOR: Oakland bullpen coach Brad Fischer, a 1974 graduate of Blissfield High School, is in his 28th season with the organization, his 10th at the major league level.

He was a minor league player, manager, instructor and assistant director of player development before former Oakland manager Art Howe named Fischer his bullpen coach in 1996. He also has coached first base.

Fischer signed with the A's as a non-drafted free-agent catcher out of high school, but his playing career ended in 1978 after one season of rookie ball.

In 1980, he rejoined the Oakland organization for good.

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