I didn’t really think too much of it when Omar Infante was lifted in the fifth inning from his rehab game in West Michigan on Thursday night. He was scheduled to resume rehabbing in Toledo the next day, and I figured he was just trying to get through the evening quickly.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Reports surfaced following the game that Infante shut it down after feeling pain in his injured ankle. Here’s Peter Wallner of the Grand Rapids Press with the story:
When asked how the ankle felt after the game, Infante said, “real bad. Now when I’m walking I feel pain.”
As for an extended stay on the disabled list, Infante replied, “Maybe. We’ll see tomorrow … I think I come (back) too soon. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
This is, to say the least, really bad news for a Detroit Tigers club with limited alternatives at the second base position. The team has employed a combination of Ramon Santiago and Hernan Perez to fill the void left by Infante, but the pair has only hit .206/.227/.302 in 64 plate appearances since the injury.
Unfortunately there are few internal alternatives. Of the middle infield-type players in AAA and AA right now, a group that includes Danny Worth, Argenis Diaz, Gustavo Nunez, Brandon Douglass, and Eugenio Suarez, only Suarez has an OPS above .680. Santiago and Perez aren’t going to hit very much, but there isn’t an internal option that would be a sure fire bet to out-hit them. Maybe Danny Worth would, but maybe also Danny Worth wouldn’t.
With the trade deadline looming and an eventual return date for Infante unknown (not to mention the Biogenesis situation hanging over Peralta’s head) it will be interesting to see if Dave Dombrowski makes a move for a good-enough middle infielder who could help solidify the situation somewhat. Not necessarily either of these exact players, but someone like Nick Punto or Jamey Carroll.
Sticking with the Santiago/Perez quasi-platoon isn’t a whole lot worse than going the acquisision route (though I’d recommend more Perez and less Santiago to get a better idea of Perez’s acumen in the big leagues), but it’s far from a guarantee that either player could scrape together a .600 OPS.
Infante’s injury still sounds like one that will get better far before the team really needs it to, but just how long he’ll remain out of action remains to be seen. One thing looks to be a certainty however, and that’s as long as Infante isn’t playing, the Tigers are going to struggle to get any sort of offensive production out of the second base position.