BOSTON -- The tone of Tigers manager Jim Leyland's voice as he talked with Tigers beat writers Saturday afternoon seemingly reflected at least some uncertainty as to what he can get out of left-hander Phil Coke in the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. The numbers reflected why he was willing to take his chances.
"We didn't know for sure," Leyland said when asked if Coke's return was a surprise. "He went down there [to Florida] along with the other guys [not on the postseason roster] and tried to stay ready.
"With [David] Ortiz and [Stephen] Drew and [Jacoby] Ellsbury, we just felt like it made sense if he's right. He felt good down there and did OK, so he's activated. That's the story for him."
Coke's career numbers against Ortiz (2-for-18, four strikeouts) and Ellsbury (1-for-11, four strikeouts) are solid, though Coke gave up a go-ahead hit to Ortiz earlier this season. Drew, however, is 3-for-5 with a walk against him.
Leyland also pointed out the fact that the pitcher he replaced on the postseason roster, righty Luke Putkonen, didn't pitch at all in the AL Division Series.
"That's what the [roster] rules are for. If you want to adjust, you can make an adjustment," Leyland said. "The only thing is we wanted to make sure [Coke was healthy]. If Coke comes in and then comes up lame right away, then he's not eligible for the next series."
In other words, the Tigers either have to carry the lefty on the roster or they'll lose him for the rest of postseason. By rule, players can be replaced on the postseason roster for injury reasons, but they can't return for the next series.
Rondon restarts throwing program in Florida
BOSTON -- Don't rule Bruce Rondon out for the postseason just yet. More importantly, don't chalk him up to a major elbow injury quite yet, either.
The hard-throwing reliever, limited to only one outing over the last month and a half of the regular season due to elbow inflammation, began his throwing program again this weekend in Florida.
Rondon played a light session of catch from about 90 feet on Saturday, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told MLB.com. It's the first time he has been able to throw since reporting to the Tigers' Florida instructional league team in Lakeland.
Rand did not want to speculate on the chances of getting Rondon back to pitching shape in time for the World Series, should the Tigers advance out of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. The timing of a throwing progression, from long-tossing to mound sessions to facing actual hitters, would seem to rule it out.
That said, the fact that the Tigers are still working him out at all at this point would seem to suggest they hold out some possibility. At the very least, getting him back into pitching shape before the offseason would likely give them some peace of mind once they start to map out their bullpen plans for next season.
Scherzer focused on controlling running game
BOSTON -- Tigers pitchers have had more than their share of struggles holding baserunners this season. Max Scherzer isn't one of them. His efforts to hold down the opposing running game, however, is an example of what manager Jim Leyland and his coaches have been trying to preach to other pitchers on the staff.
"That's something I always pride myself in, is to try to prevent the other team stealing bases against me," Scherzer -- the Tigers' Game 2 (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET, FOX) starter in the American League Championship Series -- said Saturday. "I know Boston does that. That's why they create so many runs, the ability to steal bases."
Scherzer allowed one stolen base over his two meetings with the Red Sox this season . His 14 stolen bases allowed ranked third in Detroit's rotation, better than Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander, while his eight would-be basestealers caught led the staff.
"For me, it comes down to the simple fact I've got to change my timing," Scherzer said. "I like to hold the ball [longer]. I think that disrupts the baserunners. You've got to be quick to the plate and you've got to change all different aspects of it. You can't be repetitive, because they can just time you and figure you out. So that's something that I'm always cognizant of, especially when you play a team like this."
Leyland avoids being carried after ALDS win
BOSTON -- The Tigers celebrated their American League Division Series win in Oakland much like their division title a couple weeks earlier. This time, however, there was nobody carrying manager Jim Leyland into the middle of the celebration.
Torii Hunter and Alex Avila tried.
"That's why I'm the manager. I deked them," Leyland boasted. "They started to come in there [to the manager's office], and I told them, 'Hey, I have to go to my press conference yet. I don't want to be soaking wet.' So that way, they forgot about it, which was a good thing.
"Torii Hunter came in and hugged me, and I told him."
• Among the dignitaries on the field for batting practice Saturday was Tony Clark, who started his career in Detroit before playing in Boston in 2002. Clark is now the deputy executive director of the MLB Players Association.
• Don't pigeonhole fifth starter-turned-postseason-reliever Rick Porcello into a long relief role for the ALCS. "I'm thinking that Porcello could be a factor," Leyland said.