Tigers appear set to make switch at second base

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Scott Sizemore was an apparently healthy scratch from Triple-A Toledo’s lineup on Monday night, suggesting that the Tigers are ready to give last year’s Opening Day second baseman another opportunity.

The 26-year-old Sizemore was off to a torrid start for the Mud Hens, having hit .408/.495/.605 with two homers, 15 RBI and three steals in 23 games.

With Carlos Guillen still on the mend from knee surgery, the Tigers went with Will Rhymes as their primary second baseman to begin this season. Rhymes, though, has hit just .221/.321/.235 with two RBI in 68 at-bats. His struggles had led to Ryan Raburn getting more time at his old position, but the Tigers much prefer Raburn in left field. On Monday, it was veteran utilityman Ramon Santiago who got the call at second base.

Rhymes’ absence suggests that he’ll be sent down to make room for Sizemore. There’s been nothing to indicate that Guillen will return anytime soon, so Sizemore should have the entire month of May to prove he belongs. Possessing considerably more offensive potential than Rhymes, he’s the Tigers’ one internal option capable of stepping up and becoming the team’s long-term second baseman.

Update (10:50 p.m. EDT) – The Tigers confirmed the news after Monday’s loss to the Yankees, announcing that they’d recall Sizemore and demote Rhymes prior to Tuesday’s game.

Jason Vargas fractured his non-pitching hand

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Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.