It’s bad enough that the Detroit Tigers had to begin the season with starter Justin Verlander sidelined with lingering arm problems. The past couple of weeks Alfredo Simon and Shane Green have begun to show some flaws after the strong starts to their seasons.
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Last night the baseball gods decided to get in on the act and torment the Tigers’ starting staff. In the seventh inning with two men on, Alex Gordon lined an 0-1 pitch for an RBI single. Home plate umpire Alan Porter flipped Gordon’s bat out of the way to clear the plate area just as Price arrived to back up the throw home. He stepped on the bat and came up limping with an injury to his hamstring.
The Tigers went on to beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 with a run in the bottom of the ninth but that could be a matter of winning the battle but losing the war.
Of any words an athlete in any sport hears, hamstring is one of the worst. It’s an injury where very little other than rest will allow it to heal and no strict timetable can tell when a player will be back in action. Even a mild strain normally puts a player on the 15-day disabled list.
This injury is a huge blow to the Tigers considering that Price has been providing ace performance for the staff this season. He’s gone seven innings or deeper in five of his seven starts and the Tigers have won six of his starts overall.
Justin Verlander has finally been cleared to resume his throwing schedule, which he began before Friday’s game. The question with Verlander remains how long can he continue throwing? The words “Verlander” and “setback” have appeared in the same sentence too many times this season for the Tigers and their fans.
Also, if his throwing schedule does continue uninterrupted how long before Verlander takes the mound at Comerica Park again? Even best case scenarios can’t have him back at full strength until at least mid-June.
What can the Tigers look forward to until then? Price may be out the same amount of time depending on what doctors find when they examine the injury in more detail.
Anibal Sanchez put together a solid start his last time out against the Royals for a 6-4 win. He’s pitched into the seventh in five of his six starts and will be looked to as the leader of the staff for the near future.
No one expected Simon and Greene to continue to dominate the American League the way they did to open the season but they’re also not as bad as they’ve been the past couple of weeks.
Kyle Lobstein has done an excellent job holding down the No. 5 spot in the rotation while Verlander rehabs. Now because of Price’s injury problems and continued uncertainty with Verlander, Lobstein could easily be staying in Detroit the entire season.
Buck Farmer has been pitching well at Triple-A Toledo and can be brought in to fill the fifth spot on the staff but him along with Sanchez, Simon, Greene and Lobstein can’t send too many shivers up and down American League lineups.
The issue now is whether either Dombrowski can make a move to bring in help or whether the Tigers’ lineup can keep this team afloat until they can get their aces back.