Hiroki Kuroda plans to start Monday but says he might not be 100 percent
DETROIT -- Hiroki Kuroda declared himself set to start Monday's game in Cleveland. But the righthander, injured Wednesday when his right middle finger was grazed by a line drive, said he can't say for sure that the finger is 100 percent.
"I would be lying if I said nothing is bothering me," Kuroda said before Sunday's game. "But it's something I have to deal with."
Kuroda threw his regularly scheduled bullpen session Friday and came through it without any problems, he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. But Kuroda also knows that bullpen sessions are one thing and games are another. "Nothing specific," he said of what doesn't feel right. "But until I go on the mound, I won't know [I'm healthy], so that's something I'm concerned about until I do it."
Nuñez again a no-go
Eduardo Nuñez, who left Friday's game after being hit by a pitch in his right biceps, tried to throw before Sunday's game. "I can't," he said shortly after trying. "I hope tomorrow I can. It still feels sore." Nuñez, unlikely to play Monday, pinch ran in the eighth and scored on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice fly.
In the first of season-long tributes to Mariano Rivera on the road, the closer was honored before Sunday's game. Tigers manager Jim Leyland presented pictures of the 43-year-old pitching at Comerica Park and Tiger Stadium, with a bottle of dirt from the pitcher's mound of both ballparks.
"Dirt from both stadiums," said Rivera, who allowed two hits but no runs in the ninth inning in a non-save situation. "That was neat. That will take a good place in my house."
The closer was appreciative of the standing ovation he received from the fans and Leyland's gifts. "He just said, 'Thank you,' " Rivera said. "I have so much respect for that man and what he represents. I was thankful."
Travis Hafner, who spent 10 years in Cleveland before joining the Yankees in the offseason, is looking forward to this week's four-game series at Progressive Field. "A lot of good memories," said Hafner, who still resides there with his wife and two sons. "Get to stay at home and see a lot of people."