BRADENTON, FLA. (AP) - Tigers manager Jim Leyland saw that Doug Fister's pitches were high in the zone. He knew something was wrong.
Fister left his start in the fifth inning of Detroit's 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday because of soreness in his right middle finger.
``He was getting the ball up more than normal,' said Detroit manager about what tipped him off that something was wrong with Fister. ``I learned a long time ago that there is no such thing as a minor injury.'
Fister was scheduled to throw 75 pitches but was lifted after striking out four in 4 1-3 innings. He is day to day.
Detroit catcher Gerald Laird said he saw something was bugging Fister after the right-hander threw a sinker to Yamaico Navarro in the fifth inning.
``After one pitch I noticed it and I wanted to make sure we got it taken care of,' Laird said. ``You don't want to mess with something like that. It's a part of spring training.'
Up until that point, Fister's only blemish came when Pittsburgh's Matt Hague extended his torrid spring by cracking a two-run home run in the second. Hague entered with a .448 batting average.
Speedy outfielder Quintin Berry, acquired in the offseason, capped a six-run ninth with a grand slam.
``All I know is he can fly,' Leyland said. ``He looked good. He's got a good swing.'
Audy Ciriaco and Omir Santos had RBI singles in the ninth.
Clete Thomas hit a solo homer off Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan in the top of the fifth.
Pirates starter Charlie Morton threw four scoreless innings in his third spring start.
He allowed two hits, while striking out two. Morton was pleased with his outing.
``I think I actually gave up more hard-hit balls this game than I did the last one, but I feel like I threw the ball pretty well,' Morton said.
Morton, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, said he estimates he's a game behind Pittsburgh's other starters.
``I'm hoping I can pick that up at the end of spring training, and get my pitch count up,' said Morton, who threw 55 pitches in four innings.
Morton was acquired from Atlanta in 2009 as part of the Nate McLouth trade. He allowed the fewest number of home runs by major league pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched last season.
On Friday, Morton said he liked the action he had on his two-seam fastball.
``I'm starting to figure out where my arm needs to be,' he said. ``My finish, my intent with my arm and all those things. And trusting it again, and all that stuff.'
NOTES: Leyland said third baseman Miguel Cabrera looks and feels good, but is shut down from any baseball related activities for a week, and will be re-evaluated next week. . Friday's game was the sixth sellout crowd of the spring at McKechnie Field in Bradenton. A total of 6,552 people turned out to watch the Tigers and Pirates.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved