DETROIT — What could have been a disastrous night for the Tigers on the injury front turned out to be just a scare.
Starter Max Scherzer left Tuesday night’s game after just two innings because weakness in his right shoulder. An MRI revealed no structural damage.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Scherzer said before Wednesday’s game. “I could tell it was outside the shoulder joint. It was specifically in the deltoid and it wasn’t sharp pain. It was just weakness.
“I thought maybe it might go away if I got a break in between innings. It kind of did there at the beginning of the second inning but it came back. That’s what happened. I wasn’t nervous about any significant injury.”
Athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Scherzer will not pick up a baseball for three days. After that, he can give it a go and see how it feels.
There’s no way of knowing whether Scherzer will be able to make his next start, scheduled for Sunday.
“It’s hard to say right now,” he said. “I need a couple days of not throwing, taking ice obviously and take it easy.”
If unable to go, Drew Smyly would likely start in Scherzer’s spot, but that doesn’t mean manager Jim Leyland is going to shy away from using the rookie left-hander out of the bullpen.
“I’m not worried about that right now,” Leyland said. “I’ve got to play these games.”
Although Scherzer’s status remains in question, outfielder Quintin Berry is ready to play after appearing to hurt his shoulder Tuesday night.
In the seventh inning, Berry made a diving attempt to catch Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick’s double and came down hard on his right shoulder. Berry immediately came out of the game.
“He stopped in here last night after the game and said he felt pretty good,” Leyland said. “I think it scared him more than anything else because he screwed up the other shoulder one time doing that same type of situation. I think he’s fine.”
Leyland said Berry wouldn’t have started against A’s lefty Brett Anderson Wednesday anyway.
“I could have started (Wednesday),” Berry said. “I feel good. I’ll be ready to do whatever they need. Swing it, play defense, pinch-run, whatever.”
The person who was most worried about Berry was, of course, his mom.
“She was texting me, calling me, leaving messages,” Berry said. “She’s good though. She was just worried.”
The reason Berry’s mom was worried is he hurt his left shoulder in 2005, when he was in college trying to make a similar play.
“I tore my labrum and my rotator cuff and biceps tendon,” Berry said. “I didn’t want to go through that again.”
What’s up with Boesch?
The Tigers were hoping outfielder Brennan Boesch would take the next step in his development this season, following a season that was cut short because of an injury last year.
Instead, Boesch seems to have regressed this year. He’s batting .244 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in 129 games. His on-base percentage is just .290.
In 2011, Boesch hit .283 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs in 115 games. His on-base percentage was .341.
“We’ve had two guys working with Boesch, actually, trying to come up with something,” Leyland said. “I don’t really know the answer.
“The only thing I know is that he’s just not getting the barrel to the ball out front. He’s hitting ground balls to left field, ground balls foul.”
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and hitting instructor Toby Harrah told Leyland that Boesch is not starting his bat quickly enough.
“I’m sure they’re right,” Leyland said. “But it seems to me that if you’re not getting it started, as long as they’ve worked with him and everything, and told him that you’re not getting started, by now you’d get it started.
“To be honest with you, it’s a real puzzling situation.” Avila getting closer
Catcher Alex Avila, out since Sunday in Cleveland when he collided with Prince Fielder’s elbow, may be ready to return soon.
Rand said Avila was able to participate in full activities Wednesday and they would wait and see how he felt afterward and on Thursday.
“I felt great,” Avila said. “I’m still pretty sore where my jaw (was hit). I didn’t have any headaches or anything like that (Wednesday), which is a plus. See the doctor again in the morning and if everything checks out (Thursday), he could clear me for (Thursday’s) game. That’d be great.”
Avila said he didn’t know whether Leyland would play him if he’s cleared but he would be available to hit or do whatever is needed.
“I’m hoping to play, if not by (Thursday), but for sure on Friday, the way I felt (Wednesday).”