LAKELAND, Fla. — The perplexing shin pain Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias has dealt with for more than two weeks has led the team to send him to a chiropractor specializing in pain management.
Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said that Iglesias visited Dr. Rick Smith on Friday in nearby Winter Haven, and will wear a micro-current machine provided by Smith that will give bio-feedback. Rand said it’s possible Iglesias will also see another ankle and foot specialist.
His inability to run without pain, particularly when "decelerating," has caused Rand to "leave no stone unturned" in finding solutions.
"Yesterday was a really good day for him on hitting and fielding," Rand said. "But he was not appreciatively better running."
That caused Rand to shut down Iglesias from baseball activity and running for two days, beginning on Thursday. Friday will be a key day in terms of reading the feedback and determining what to do in the immediate future.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said a decision for Iglesias to begin the season on the disabled list could be coming in the days ahead.
"I would’ve hoped we’d have it resolved (by now)," Rand said. "It’s always worrisome when somebody in your starting lineup isn’t ready to play."
Veteran Danny Worth could be the short-term solution if Iglesias goes on the disabled list, but Eugenio Suarez and Hernan Perez also are considerations. Utility man Steve Lombardozzi can play short, too.
The hope is that a long-term sub isn’t required.
If the worst happens, shortstop Stephen Drew remains unsigned as a free agent, and Detroit has had past interest in Drew. Such a costly signing wouldn’t likely be considered unless Iglesias ends up requiring treatment or surgery that would keep him out the entire season.
Drew made $9.5 million in 2013, and turned down a $14.1 qualifying offer for this season from the Boston Red Sox. Signing Drew would require a tean to forfeit a high draft pick.
The Tigers aren’t at that point yet.
Rand called Iglesias’ injury a "tibial stress reaction" that affects his right shin more than his left. According to Rand, the orthotics inserted in Iglesias’ shoes "seemed to give him some relief" but have not been the complete solution.
"We’re trying to manage the pain," Rand said.
Iglesias, 24, missed four games in early September with the same problem, then played the rest of the regular season and playoffs.
"He can run," Rand said, "but decelerating is the biggest problem. Our eventual goal is to get him pain free if at all possible."