Feb 18, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias during a team practice at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
According to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, injured Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias might not be ready for game action when the Tigers take on the Kansas City Royals on March 31 for Opening Day.
"Iglesias has not played since Feb. 26 when the Tigers played their Grapefruit League opener. And if the inflammation in his lower legs doesn’t allow him to run at full throttle and return to games soon, he could be in danger of missing Opening Day.“We’re gonna hit that point where he won’t have had enough at-bats to get ready for the season,” Ausmus said Sunday…“There’s a point when, if you can’t get on the field because of injury, you have to make a decision.”"
The Tigers don’t really have a legitimate option at short outside of Iglesias. Utility man Steve Lombardozzi was slated to be the nominal backup at the position, but that was supposed to be more of an in case of emergency break glass type of option. Hernan Perez and Danny Worth — both slated to begin the season at AAA Toledo — could reasonable handle the position, but neither would add anything to the team offensively, and neither is close to the defender that Iglesias is.
Detroit could gamble on Eugenio Suarez, who has the best offensive potential of anyone mentioned above — but he only has half a season of experience above A-ball and probably wouldn’t be ready to handle the game (either offensively or defensively) at the major league level.
At this point I might be expecting some sort of Lombardozzi-Worth platoon — as unappealing as that sounds — if Iglesias isn’t ready to play when the season opens. Perez and Suarez probably need to get more everyday time in the minors, unless one of them really impresses Brad Ausmus down the stretch here in Spring Training. It might be interesting to track who gets how much playing time at the position these next few weeks.
Missing Iglesias for a couple of weeks wouldn’t derail the season, but combining it with the loss of Dirks for eight weeks, and the Tigers could be very thin in the depth department in the early going.