LAKELAND, Fla. — The shin problems that kept Jose Iglesias from four games last season have returned and shelved him until the situation is remedied.
Iglesias was scheduled to start at shortstop and bat lead-off in the Detroit Tigers’ split-squad game on Friday in nearby Clearwater. But he was scratched with a "stress reaction and inflammation in both shins." Middle infield prospect Hernan Perez was sent as his replacement for the game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus isn’t overly concerned about losing his slick-fielding shortstop for the start of the season on March 31. However, the condition, which resurfaced Wednesday, did lead to questions about what Ausmus would do should Iglesias require a stay on the disabled list.
"I’m not really happy about it," Iglesias said Friday. "But it’s a good thing it’s early."
Iglesias, 24, hit .330 for Boston and then .259 in 46 games after he was traded to Detroit. He finished second in last year’s American League rookie of the year vote.
"He could not run that well," Ausmus said. "We decided to nip it in the bud now, and he’ll probably not play for the better part of a week."
Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Iglesias had a bone scan Wednesday and a MRI on Thursday.
"We ruled out a stress fracture," Rand said.
Rand said Iglesias will take medication twice daily with treatment in an effort to "quiet it down," while also looking for a long-term solution for a young player who’s central to the infield defense.
"We’re trying to find the right exercise regimen so he can put this behind him," Rand said. "It’s not something we’re going to ask him to push."
Rand said the injury, similar to shin splints, is "more prevalent in basketball" but occurs often at the beginning of spring training, when players make the transition to running on "soft turf" after running on other surfaces in the winter.
"We’ll give him contrast treatment (alternating heat with ice) and massages," Rand said.
Iglesias said the condition didn’t become a real concern to him until Thursday.
"The treatment plan is a good one," he said. "But I expect to be back soon."
Until Iglesias returns, Ausmus will see what Perez, Steve Lombardozzi, Danny Worth and prospect Eugenio Suarez bring to the table at shortstop.
Lombardozzi started Friday against the Yankees in Lakeland and is expected to make the team as a utility infielder. He came to Detroit from the Washington Nationals in the Doug Fister trade.
VERLANDER THROWS BATTING PRACTICE
Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, who had core muscle repair surgery in January, threw live batting practice Friday under the supervision of Rand and pitching coach Jeff Jones.
Rand said Verlander experienced no setback during the session.
"He threw the ball very well, and I was happy with this progress," Rand said.
Verlander threw 52 or 53 pitches and remains on track to make his first start of the regular season. He’s never been on the disabled list and has started six consecutive openers for Detroit.
Verlander could soon be scheduled to pitch in an exhibition game.