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SEA@KC: Saunders starts double play in the fourth

The Tigers haven't played the Mariners since traveling to Seattle in mid-April, and will face a very different team in Monday's series opener. The Mariners regularly start a number of rookies who weren't on the club when the teams last met, and that number has been bolstered by September callups.

"They got quite a few new guys," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't know much about them, other than what I see on TV. It seemed like we were in Boston two months ago, and that was only 10 days ago. We haven't seen those guys since April, and that's a long time plus a lot of the faces are new."

Detroit will face a familiar foe on the mound, however, in Joe Saunders. In nine career starts against the Tigers, the lefty has gone 1-2 with a 5.26 ERA.

Saunders has struggled of late, going 1-4 with a 7.53 ERA over his last seven starts. He lasted just three innings, while allowing seven hits and six runs, in a 13-2 loss to the Astros in his most recent outing.

"He's a great competitor, but I haven't seen the command," manager Eric Wedge said. "He still has the velocity on the fastball. You saw him get some good punchouts inside to right-handers -- which usually means if you're getting there, you're OK. He has made it difficult for himself, just going deep in counts and working counts."

Saunders will look to turn his recent slump around against a pitcher coming off one of the best games of his career. Rick Porcello tossed his first career complete game for the Tigers in his last start, allowing just one earned run.

"He's just getting more mature, and he's getting better," Leyland said. "He's learning how to make some adjustments when things aren't going right, as far as mentally and emotionally and learning how to slow things down a little bit."

Mariners: Brad Miller likely out against Tigers

• Shortstop Brad Miller will likely miss most of the Seattle's four-game series against the Tigers, after straining his left hamstring on Saturday. Rookie Carlos Triunfel will start in his place.

"He's sore and tight," Wedge said on Sunday. "We'll just take it day to day and see how he feels. But it's going to be at least a couple days."

Tigers: Iglesias out of the lineup on Sunday

• Shortstop Jose Iglesias was kept out of Sunday's series finale against the Royals with shin splints in both legs. Still, the Tigers' trainers say that the aches in the rookie's legs shouldn't affect his defensive range or his speed on the basepaths.

"I don't really understand when a guy has shin splints, I'm talking about from a medical standpoint, how a guy can run that fast," Leyland said. "But [the trainers] say he can."

Worth noting

• Felix Hernandez will throw a bullpen session on Monday at Comerica Park, as the Mariners test the minor oblique strain in his left side that has sidelined him since Sept. 2. If all goes well, Hernandez likely will start Wednesday's game, with Hisashi Iwakuma to follow on Thursday. But for now, starters for those two games are yet to be determined.

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