Ji-Man Choi has been suspended 50 games by MLB for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
The positive test was for Methandienone. Choi was added to the 40-man roster in November after hitting .295 with 18 home runs and 85 RBIs in 122 games last season between three levels in the minors. He'll now be sidelined until the summer.
Ian Kinsler had a three-run homer, an RBI single and a stolen base in the Tigers' 7-5 win over the Indians on Thursday.
Kinsler's steal was followed immediately by a caught stealing on an attempt to take third. That won't bother his fantasy owners, though. Kinsler is batting .327 with a couple of early homers and three steals. His four RBI today matched his total from his first 11 games combined.
Justin Verlander was lifted after allowing three unearned runs in five innings and striking out seven in a win over the Indians.
The patient Indians offense and some shoddy defense forced Verlander to throw 113 pitches in his five innings and led to his early exit. Still, Verlander got the win anyway after the Tigers scored four times in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. It moved Verlander to 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA this season.
After cruising through four innings, Danny Salazar was lit up in the fifth by the Tigers on Thursday and ended up allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings in all.
The typically inefficient Salazar needed just 47 pitches to get through four, but he walked two straight to start the fifth, gave up a three-run homer to Ian Kinsler and then allowed three more hits (with an intentional walk mixed in) before being pulled. He ended up throwing 35 pitches in that frame alone. Salazar is a big-time talent and he's going to post some strong results this year, but he's been awfully frustrating thus far.
Ryan Braun is back in Thursday's lineup against the Pirates.
Braun was given the afternoon off on Wednesday, but he'll bat third Thursday against right-hander Edinson Volquez. Look for him to continue to get occasional rest for his thumb.
Michael Brantley had a two-run homer and a two-run single Thursday versus the Tigers.
Brantley isn't any sort of prototypical middle-of-the-order guy, but manager Terry Francona has used him exclusively in the fifth and sixth spots so far and he's been good for 14 RBI in 15 games, even though they guys ahead of him aren't really clicking yet. He should remain a nice mixed-league outfielder all season long.
Lonnie Chisenhall singled all four times he was up Thursday against the Tigers.
Unfortunately, he did so from the ninth spot in the lineup, so he never scored or drove in a run. Still, Chisenhall is now 12-for-23 this season. Hopefully, he's about to turn into a fixture against right-handed pitching.
Carlos Santana went 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts versus the Tigers on Thursday.
Santana isn't hitting, but this is the first day strikeouts have been the problem; he had eight in 14 games coming in. The Indians might try dropping him in the lineup until he gets going, though that's not really Terry Francona's style. He'll surely starting hitting eventually.