NEW YORK -- Give Austin Jackson credit: When it was suggested to him that he looks more aggressive on the basepaths in recent days, he was aggressive with a quick retort.
"I think it's just more excitement, being happy that I got a hit," Jackson said with a smile.
He is definitely hitting for better contact. Thursday marked his third consecutive multihit game after going a month and a half without two such efforts in a row. Just as impressive, though, has been the way he has attacked the basepaths on his hits.
Jackson saw second base from the outset in the 14th inning on Wednesday before aggressively taking third on Torii Hunter's ensuing flyout to right. He stretched out a triple to left-center, his first triple since July 10, on Thursday, then dared New York's Curtis Granderson to try to throw him out on a two-out ground ball to left-center on Friday night.
Eventually, he admitted that he's looking for extra bases out of the box rather than simply reacting.
"Really, I think I'm trying to be aggressive on a ball in the gap or down the line," he said. "I'm trying to go around first with the intent to get to second."
Exercising caution, Tigers extend Infante's rehab
NEW YORK -- The Tigers appear set to give Omar Infante a few more days on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo to make sure his previously sprained left ankle can hold up for the stretch run.
Infante played second base for the Mud Hens on Thursday without trouble despite a slide into him at the bag, according to manager Jim Leyland.
"I think he'll probably play the weekend," Leyland said on Friday. "I would say possibly, if everything goes right, [we'll] shoot for possibly Monday. But don't hold me to that."
Infante entered Friday night's game for the Mud Hens having gone 2-for-8 with a pair of singles. He began his rehab assignment on Tuesday with a game at designated hitter but was scratched from Wednesday's game with lingering soreness in the ankle. That's the reason for the Tigers' abundance of caution.
Fellow infielder Ramon Santiago said on Friday that his left leg feels "much better than yesterday," though he still wasn't in the lineup. Santiago felt soreness in a muscle behind his left knee running out a ball on Thursday, and it tightened on him to the point that he had to exit the game.
"I was scared yesterday," Santiago said.
Scherzer in good company with 1,000th K
NEW YORK -- Max Scherzer still isn't making a big deal about his win-loss record, even at 17-1, and he probably never will. That's a team accomplishment, he said, more than anything he has done.
His 1,000th strikeout, however, brought a smile to his face. Jason Kipnis ' first-inning swing-and-miss on Thursday made Scherzer the 469th pitcher in Major League history to hit the mark, and the 60th active hurler.
The pace with which Scherzer reached 1,000, however, stands out. Scherzer needed 957 Major League innings to get there, the fourth-lowest total of any active pitcher according to Elias Sports Bureau. Scherzer's teammate Octavio Dotel needed just 820 1/3 innings; San Francisco's Tim Lincecum had the fastest pace of active starters, with 896 1/3 innings. Johan Santana beat Scherzer to 1,000 with 947 2/3 innings.
"The thousand K's, that means more," Scherzer said. "That takes pitching effectively for many years. That's something I feel I've done, and lately I've gotten better at generating swings-and-misses. And so to get it within basically five-plus years, to me that means a lot."
Verlander responds to Clark's insinuations
NEW YORK -- Albert Pujols is threatening to take legal action against former Major League slugger Jack Clark for accusing him of taking steroids. Justin Verlander, about whom Clark speculated as well, might be thinking about the same thing, though when asked, he replied, "I don't really want to get into that with you guys."
Asked if it was fair to consider, Verlander said, "It could be, yeah. Obviously, I'm pretty upset, so I'm trying to bite my tongue here and say the right things."
No matter what he said, though, Verlander's anger was evident in regard to Clark's comments on St. Louis radio station WGNU.
Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shortly after midnight on Saturday, the company that had put Clark and co-host Kevin Slaten on the air announced that the two had been dismissed.
"Verlander was like Nolan Ryan. He threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning," Clark said, according to a report in the Post-Dispatch. "He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing's wrong. It's just the signs are there.
"The greed ... They juice up, they grab the money, and it's just a free pass to steal is the way I look at it."
Verlander's velocity numbers -- both for the season and in recent starts -- counter what Clark is arguing. Still, Verlander didn't hide his displeasure.
"Look at the source," he said. "I don't know this guy. He doesn't know me. Clearly, there's no merit for what he's talking about.
"He's not watching me pitch, clearly, because if he is, he would have seen my last start, right? He's saying I'm struggling to hit 93, 94. I averaged 97 and hit 100 in my last start. Clearly, he doesn't know what he's talking about, and it's moronic to talk about someone who you know nothing about and clearly -- as I just stated -- he's not watching."
Verlander has publicly supported Major League Baseball's efforts against performance-enhancing drugs, including Monday's suspensions of 13 players, among them teammate Jhonny Peralta.
Asked if groundless accusations such as this one are part of the fallout, Verlander said, "It's troublesome that in this day and age, with no merit or anything, somebody can just throw a name in just because he feels like, in his opinion, I'm having a down year because I've lost velocity, which clearly wasn't the case. Then, all of a sudden, I'm having to deal with this, just because I have a big name. It is what it is."
Iglesias could bring more hardware home to Detroit
NEW YORK -- No team has ever swept its league's MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. But thanks to the Jose Iglesias trade, the Tigers might have a chance.
Miguel Cabrera's season, though he leads just one of the Triple Crown categories to date, has him in contention to repeat as American League MVP. Max Scherzer's 17-1 record and secondary stats will put him in the conversation for Cy Young. And with last week's trade for Iglesias, the Tigers acquired a serious Rookie of the Year contender.
CBSSports.com's Awards Watch segment has Iglesias at the top of the field for AL Rookie of the Year, though Rays outfielder Wil Myers is coming on strong.
The Tigers have won the last two AL MVP Awards, and Justin Verlander added Cy Young honors two years ago.
Manager Jim Leyland has only had the chance to see Iglesias at shortstop for a few days this week, and at third base for a few games last weekend as well as in June with Boston. Even so, the young infielder has made an immediate impression.
"I can tell you in the short period of time [around him] what he is: He is a very bright young man, very smart and very baseball smart," Leyland said, "and very street smart. Very impressive. I really like him a lot."
He's also very young, and he looks even younger than his tender age of 22.
"He looks like a kid that might be in a station wagon with a bunch of other kids stopping at McDonald's after the game," Leyland joked.