DETROIT -- Patience. It's something Kevin Millar needs, though it has been tough for him ever since his role was reduced since Jay Payton returned from a hamstring injury on April 21. Millar has played in just three full games since that point, a new role for a player who has played in at least 132 games over the past four seasons. Manager Sam Perlozzo is in a tough situation with Payton's return, as he must find enough at-bats to go around for Payton and Millar, as well as Jay Gibbons.
Perlozzo told Millar before Tuesday's game against the Tigers at Comerica Park to be patient, and that things will work out, if he continues to improve his numbers. "It's a situation where you have to let it play out for a little bit before you know what you're looking at," Perlozzo said. "At that point, you'll have a little better idea if you have a platoon system or we don't. None of that's been labeled on this right this second. We're still trying to see what we have." Improving his numbers against left-handers would be the easiest way for Millar to see increased playing time. He has a .154 batting average against left-handers this season, though his career numbers suggest he will turn it around. He is a career .282 hitter against lefties. "We'll see how it shakes out, and see if we can make everyone happy," Perlozzo said. "If it doesn't, then we can address it at that point. Millar was in the starting lineup on Tuesday for the first time since April 28, though he had just two at-bats in that game before Perlozzo decided to pinch-hit for him in favor of Aubrey Huff. Cooler heads prevail? Perlozzo said there should be no after effects of Monday's near benches-clearing incident against the Tigers. Miguel Tejada caused both benches and bullpens to empty when he pointed his bat at Jeremy Bonderman, after Tejada was nearly hit in the lower body with an inside pitch. "I guess sometimes something like that can bring a team together, but we're together," Perlozzo said. "I think that was an unfortunate situation yesterday, and you don't want to see those things happen." Asked if the situation is over with, Perlozzo replied "I sure hope so." Williamson's rehab: Scott Williamson threw 18 pitches in a rehab stint at Class A Frederick, and reported no pain. He has been on the disabled list since April 24 with tightness in his right triceps. Williamson hit two batters and allowed a run on a sacrifice fly. He will likely have one more one-inning outing and two two-inning outings before he returns to the Orioles. Quick hits: Perlozzo said Payton tweaked his quad on Monday and didn't want to start him on Tuesday due to wet field conditions. ... Steady rainfall in Detroit meant the grounds crew didn't remove the tarp until about 40 minutes before game time. There was no delay, and the first pitch was thrown at 7:05 p.m. ET. Not necessarily a homecoming: Gibbons was born in Rochester, Mich., a suburb about 27 miles north of Detroit, although his family moved to California by the time he was "2 or 3," he said. He said he doesn't remember much about his time in Michigan, although he still has family members around the state. They may have provided him with extra incentive in Monday's game, when he hit his first homer of the season, after he went 75 at-bats without hitting one. "I had zero [home runs] so to finally hit one, period, was nice," Gibbons said. "I don't ever remember hitting one here in my seven years." Gibbons' sixth-inning homer was the first of his career at Comerica. Up next: Steve Trachsel (1-2, 4.13) faces Nate Robertson (2-1, 2.43) at 1:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Comerica Park in the final meeting between the two teams this season.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.