September 19th, 2013
The Tigers’ postseason infield took a scare Thursday with a 95 mph fastball off the left hand of shortstop Jose Iglesias. He left their series finale against the Mariners after the hit-by-pitch, but x-rays taken afterwards came back negative.
Iglesias is listed as day-to-day with a left hand contusion.
Iglesias went to the ground in obvious pain after the fastball from former Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen. He got back on his feet after a quick examination from head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, but promptly left the game and headed to the Tigers clubhouse for further examination.
It was the 11th pitch to hit Iglesias in 105 games this year, the fourth-highest hit-by-pitch total among American League players.
The Tigers have enjoyed a defensive resurgence in their middle infield since Iglesias took over at shortstop six weeks ago for suspended Jhonny Peralta. If Iglesias had a significant injury the prospect of Peralta returning from his suspension next week to play a major role on the Tigers would have taken on new meaning.
The Tigers have already said Peralta will not get his old shortstop job back from Iglesias. They’ve had Peralta taking fly balls in left field in preparation for potential utility work or spot duty as a right-handed bat. His 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal ends in a week.
For Thursday, Ramon Santiago moved over from third base to replace Iglesias at short. Don Kelly pinch-ran for Iglesias and entered the game at third base.
You could see the roll of the eyes from manager Jim Leyland on air when the question about Phil Coke came up. He had a pretty simple answer when asked about him, but that gesture said quite a bit on its own.
“Look, I’ll make this simple: Phil’s just not making good enough pitches to get big-league hitters out right now,” Leyland said. “I mean, he’s hanging his breaking ball, he’s throwing the ball in the middle of the plate. I mean, it’s as simple as that. And certainly nobody’s upset with him, but that’s the simple fact. I’ll answer it that way and we’ll move on to the next question.”
The next question on Coke might have been answered Thursday morning, when Leyland said he reported some elbow tenderness. The Tigers medical staff has shut him down for at least the next couple days to try to address it.
Coke said Thursday morning he has had soreness in his elbow off and on for most of the season, but Wednesday was the first time he felt something more specific. He had trouble finishing his pitches, and while he didn’t want to make it an excuse, he said it got into his head by the time he faced Michael Saunders, who doubled in a run off of him.
“It freaked me out,” Coke said of the feeling in his elbow.
Coke said earlier this week that he’s simplifying things, worrying more about results and less about mechanics. He felt good about the way he was pitching going into this, and he had some success in short, specific outings.
While he’s out, there’s a decent chance Jose Alvarez will get an opportunity or two against left-handed hitters.
As expected, Victor Martinez is behind the plate, with Cabrera at DH and Ramon Santiago at third.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Torii Hunter, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, DH
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Victor Martinez, C
- Omar Infante, 2B
- Matt Tuiasosopo, LF
- Ramon Santiago, 3B
- Jose Iglesias, SS
P: Doug Fister
- Dustin Ackley, CF
- Michael Saunders, RF
- Kyle Seager, 3B
- Kendrys Morales, DH
- Raul Ibanez, LF
- Justin Smoak, 1B
- Nick Franklin, 2B
- Mike Zunino, C
- Carlos Triunfel, SS
P: James Paxton