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Fister talks about outing with Triple-A Toledo

Doug Fister's return from the disabled list comes just in time to create a dramatic storyline as the Tigers and Mariners get set for a three-game series starting Monday in Seattle.

Fister was acquired by the Tigers from the Mariners in a Trade Deadline deal last season, and helped guide Detroit to the American League Championship Series by going 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 11 regular-season games.

He'll make his first trip back to Seattle this week, in also his first start back since he was sidelined on April 7 with a left side strain.

"There's a lot of emotion to going back to where I started," said Fister, Seattle's seventh-round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. "But at the same point, it's still the same game. I'm going out there and facing hitters and going out there with me and I think [catcher Alex Avila]. We'll work together and again, it's not a focus of who I'm facing. It's just the matter of getting on the mound and throwing strikes."

He threw four innings (68 pitches) in a rehab start with Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday. He said he threw a successful bullpen session later in the week and everything felt fine. Now, Fister says, it's just a matter of making sure he's not cautious when he takes the hill.

"That's one of the things that I really focus on not letting happen," he said. "That's one of the things that could really cause problems. When you're tentative or when you're scared or not doing things normal, that's when you get hurt. That's when things are not right. I'm going about my business the same way. Whether it's the approach, whether it's the preparation or just the execution it's just the same way."

To heighten the excitement surrounding the series, Detroit will be looking to avenge Seattle's three-game sweep at Comerica Park in late April. The Mariners outscored the Tigers, 21-9, in that set.

Seattle will counter Monday with right-hander Blake Beavan, who struggled with his fastball command and gave up a season-high five runs on seven hits and two homers in 5 1/3 innings of a 5-4 loss to the Rays on Wednesday.

"I'm just looking forward to going out there and trying to get back on track with my mechanics and getting my command back on track," Beavan said. "I was way out of whack mechanically, trying to do too much with deception and add stuff I didn't need. I had probably my best bullpen I've had all year, so I'll be ready."

Meanwhile, the Mariners will try to be ready for their old teammate, Fister.

"He's a competitor, that's why he was such a good teammate," Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "He genuinely pulled for each and every guy. But he comes after you. I know he's going to have the two-seamer and cutter and throw that big curveball in. And he's smart and he'll be tough to bunt off of. But it'll be fun to go up against him because you know he'll be battling just as hard as you are. He was one of the best teammates you could have."

Tigers: Miggy slugging
• Miguel Cabrera has hit safely in 13 of his last 17 games, dating back to April 17. During that stretch, he is batting .333 (23-for-69) with three doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs.

• Fister said Sunday he does not expect to have any limitations when he takes the mound.

"There's been nothing like that," Fister said of any limitations. "We're going to have to dictate it about how the game's going and what I'm feeling."

Mariners: Montero in a groove
• When Seattle's Jesus Montero spends the game behind the plate, his performance alongside it also benefits. In 10 games in which Montero has caught, he has hit .444 (16-for-36) with three doubles, three homers and eight RBIs. He has recorded a hit in eight of his nine starts at catcher. He went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in Sunday's win as a designated hitter.

• Seattle enters Monday's series opener against Detroit with 16 homers in its last 13 games, dating back to April 24.

Worth noting
• The series against Seattle is the first leg of the Tigers' nine-game road trip that includes stops in Seattle, Oakland and Chicago.

• After Sunday's series-clinching win over Minnesota, the Mariners are 10-4 when outhitting their opponent and 12-4 when scoring four or more runs.

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