Marcus Thames: Close To Major League Return

Dave HamptonCorrespondent IJune 6, 2009

DETROIT - APRIL 10:  Marcus Thames #33 of the Detroit Tigers warms up during batting practice against the Texas Rangers before Opening Day on April 10, 2009 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 15-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Another injured Tiger is close to getting his wings back. Marcus Thames has been heating up on a rehab assignment with class AAA Toledo and could be back in Detroit soon.

Thames has been on the disabled list since April 19th, after straining his ribcage in batting practice.

The Tigers could use his power in a lineup that has struggled to score runs.

Small ball may be virtuous for many reasons. the Tigers have not played very good small ball lately, and therefore could greatly benefit from the smashing potential that Thames brings to the plate.

Factoring into the decision to bring him up will be the prognosis on Miguel Cabrera, who strained a hamstring in Thursday's game against the Red Sox. He was replaced by Jeff Larish at 1B, and subsequently missed Friday's series opener against the Angels.

Cabrera is the most feared power threat in the Tiger lineup, although Brandon Inge and Curtis Granderson have acquitted themselves quite well so far this season.

Jeff Larish has definitely not been the answer so far this season, and could be stamping his ticket to Toledo soon.

Dropping Thames back into the middle of the batting order, probably in the 5th or 6th spot, will be a step in the right direction for run production, even at the cost of strikeouts.

Also in Thames' favor is the probable pitching outlook for the upcoming schedule. Three left handed pitchers in three days.

Joe Saunders of the Angels will start the rubber match tomorrow.

Lefty Clayton Richard is slated to start the first game of the double header against the White Sox on Monday in Chicago. Mark Buehrle is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

So if Thames is not activated before Saturday's game, look for him to be in the lineup Sunday.


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