Fans wondering how the 2015 Detroit Tigers season could get any worse got their answer Thursday night when Jose Iglesias was forced to leave the game. Iglesias was attempting to bunt for a hit and was struck in the hand by the pitch from Kansas City Royals starter Edinson Volquez. A CT scan on Friday showed that Iglesias suffered a non-displaced chip fracture in his right middle finger that will keep him out of the lineup at least two weeks. Dixon Machado was called up from Triple-A Toledo to fill in at shortstop while Andrew Romine continues in his role as backup.
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Iglesias has been one of the few consistent bright spots on the field for Tigers’ fans to enjoy this season after missing all of 2014 with stress fractures in both shins. He has teamed with second-baseman Ian Kinsler to solidify the up-the-middle defense and was recognized for that by being named to the 2015 American League All-Star Team.
Iglesias has also contributed at the plate for the Tigers this season. At the time of his injury he was hitting .300 with an above average BAbip of .330. In 454 plate appearances he was fifth in the Major Leagues with 9.5 at-bats per strikeout ratio. He also walked 25 times to give him a .347 OBP.
Machado is currently ranked No. 15 among the teams prospects on MLB Pipeline and is making his second appearance in a Tigers uniform this season. According to Pipeline he has the skills to play defense at the major league level right now. In late-May for the Tigers he appeared in three games at shortstop, starting two of them. He managed one hit and one walk in eight plate appearances before being sent back to Toledo.
Machado debuted in the Tigers’ organization in 2009 when he played for their team in the Venezuelan Summer League. He had a history as a great fielding/weak hitting prospect until 2014 when he split time between Lakeland and Double-A Erie. In 131 games he slashed .286/.375/.404. Of his 129 hits, 39 were for extra bases, 31 doubles, two triples and six home runs. The best of those numbers came from his time spent in Erie.
With Toledo this season, in 127 games and 567 plate appearances, Machado was hitting .261 and had walked 36 times. He has also recently been named to the International League’s postseason All-Star team.
In Machado’s first start at shortstop Friday night against the Cleveland Indians he began the sixth inning with a diving catch behind second base to rob Jason Kipnis of a base hit then doubled in the bottom half and scored the Tigers’ only run of the game on Miguel Cabrera‘s two-out single.
Iglesias will be re-evaluated in two weeks but even under the best of scenarios he likely won’t be ready to play again until the final week of the season. A successful final month audition by Machado opens up possibilities for the Tigers in the offseason and for 2016, even if Iglesias remains the team’s shortstop. At the least, some success would give fans something fun to debate this coming. offseason.