Central Links: Hafner, Leyland, Astros

The Tigers are holding their collective breath after righty Max Scherzer exited Tuesday night's start prematurely because of shoulder pain. Scherzer, who leads the American League in strikeouts, is scheduled to undergo an MRI. More on the Tigers in this batch of links …

  • The Indians are expected to decline their $13MM club option on DH Travis Hafner for 2013, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Hafner, sidelined since early August due to a back injury, is trying to get back on the field for what could be his final appearances as a member of the Tribe. With a career line of .278/.382/.508, the 35-year-old has posted solid offensive numbers when healthy, but staying on the field has been an issue, as he's missed chunks of time in each of the past five seasons.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he is focused on his team's playoff chase rather than his own contract status, writes Anthony Odoardi of MLB.com. Leyland's deal expires after this season, but he maintains he has held no discussions with Detroit about this future: "I haven't discussed my situation with anyone nor has my situation been discussed with me. And I don't want to discuss my situation with anyone nor do they want to discuss it with me right now. We're trying to win a division."
  • The Astros hope to pick their next manager by the end of next week, but they may have to wait till after then to announce the decision, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. If the selected candidate is on a team that's still in the playoffs, Houston will wait till that team's season is over, McTaggart explains.
  • Astros owner Jim Crane reiterated that he's not expecting Roger Clemens to pitch this season, tweets Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
  • While some consider the second-place Tigers a disappointment after a splashy offseason that saw them land top free agent Prince Fielder, Detroit has played pretty close to where some advanced metrics suggest they should be, explains Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs.

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