Dombrowski: We’d like to add a starter

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski usually keeps his trade deadline needs close to the vest, and while he hinted last week that starting pitching is the main spot where they could upgrade, he didn’t outright say it at the time.

With reports pointing to Tigers scouts being spotted at various games for starters on the potential trading block, however, Dombrowski admitted Sunday he’s looking for a starting pitcher.

“I don’t feel urgency, but I’d like to do it,” Dombrowski told Foxsports.com. “It’s apparent that [Justin] Verlander’s there, and our other guys haven’t been as consistent. There’s no question we’d like to add somebody to our rotation. We’re looking to do that, and hopefully we’ll do it. But we’ll see.”

Reports have had Tigers scouts in attendance for starts involving Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez and the Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda, and potentially interested in Atlanta’s Derek Lowe depending on how much money Detroit would have to pick up on his contract through next season.

It’s difficult to envision the Tigers acquiring Jimenez without having to give up Jacob Turner in return, which the Tigers have refused to do in any deal for more than a year. He’s the closest the Tigers have to an untouchable player in their system.

A National League scout echoed reports that Kuroda is supposedly high on their list, though there’s no indication Kuroda would waive his no-trade clause to go east.

Any trade would fill a fifth spot that came open when the Tigers pulled the plug on Phil Coke’s starting tenure. Charlie Furbush made two starts the week before the All-Star break, and appears to be the likely choice to return for Wednesday’s start against Oakland. He pitched in relief for the Mud Hens Sunday night after starting on Thursday, and he has been scratched from his scheduled start for Toledo on Tuesday.

But after Dombrowski said last week the ball “is in [Furbush’s] court” for the starting job, he’s no longer saying that.

Manager Jim Leyland told reporters Sunday morning that Turner is not a candidate to join the rotation anytime soon, even though he was moved up two days in Double-A Erie’s rotation to coincide with the Tigers’ open spot. Dombrowski called it “unlikely” that Turner would pitch in Detroit this season.

As for the lineup, Dombrowski echoed the same belief he expressed to MLB.com a week ago, that the return of Carlos Guillen at second base and Magglio Ordonez in right field have lessened the urgency for a deal.

“Really, the only spot we have is third base,” Dombrowski told Foxsports.com. “We’ve got a couple guys there. We’ll see how they do. Brandon Inge has not had a good year; I’m not going to sugarcoat it. But we like Brandon Inge. We think he’s a lot better player than he’s been, average-wise.”

The market for potentially available third basemen is thin.

- Jason Beck

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