Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Hens' Berry has whirlwind day

Career minor leaguer gets nod to take over for injured Jackson


Detroit Tigers' Quintin Berry grounds into a fielders choice in the seventh inning against the Indians Wednesday.


CLEVELAND -- Early Tuesday night, Quintin Berry got a call at his house from Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin.

He does not recall what happened next.

After Berry learned he was bound for the major leagues, restraint left the center fielder's Toledo home -- much to the amusement of his infant son.

"He was looking at us wondering why me and his mom were yelling at each other," Berry said, laughing.

For the 27-year-old minor league veteran, called up by the Tigers to fill in for ailing center fielder Austin Jackson, Wednesday marked a whirlwind first day in the big leagues.

In the morning, after stealing two hours of sleep, Berry, his wife, and son made the two-hour drive to Cleveland. At night, he was leading off and playing center for the Tigers.

With Detroit still debating whether to place Jackson on the disabled list, the Tigers hope the breakneck Berry can provide a short-term jolt. Berry hit .270 with 19 steals in 35 games at Toledo -- three more steals than Detroit's season total.

"You've got more speed out there now in center field and a guy who's a true center fielder," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Berry, who is replacing Don Kelly as the team's substitute center fielder. "You know you're going to gain a little defense. Donny does a great job. But this guy's fast. This guy's really fast."

Berry has used that speed at every level, swiping 154 bases over his first three minor league seasons. The San Diego native only rose above Double-A late last year. Signed by the Tigers as a minor league free agent in the off-season, he attracted the organization's eye with a strong spring.

"I felt like I put everything out the table that I could," said Berry, a fifth-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2006. "I just wanted to make sure when I got on base I did what I could. You never know if this club needs somebody that's running or not. I want to let them know that I'm running whenever I've got the opportunity."

As for how long Berry's big-league shot lasts, that depends on Jackson, sidelined since last Wednesday with an abdominal strain. Jackson was scratched from Tuesday's lineup after experiencing pain in his abdomen. Leyland said Jackson could be placed on the DL.

WARM WELCOME: Indians closer Chris Perez said he was humbled by the ovation he received Tuesday.

Perez braced for jeers as he took the field for his first save opportunity since repeatedly blistering Cleveland's fans for their lack of support.

"That's the loudest I've ever been cheered here," Perez said after recording his 14th save in the Indians' 5-3 victory. "It was good to see. It could've gone the other way, but it didn't, and I came through."

EXTRA INNINGS: The Tigers designated reliever Collin Ballester for assignment to clear room for Berry. ... Detroit is amid a stretch of playing 24 games away from Comerica Park. ... Cleveland reliever Vinnie Pestano set a team record for a reliever Tuesday by recording a strikeout in his 22nd consecutive appearance. After the game, the club's resident funny man mused on Twitter: "Thanks for all the congrats on the record no matter how dubious. Next up most bananas peeled and eaten in a min."

Contact David Briggs at, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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