Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer will not test his ailing right shoulder Wednesday night as originally was planned.
Although all indications are that his shoulder is better, he’s got a right ankle problem now, caused by — of the all things — Monday night’s on-the-field celebration.
While the Tigers were whooping it up after a 6-3 victory in Kansas City and their second straight AL Central title, Scherzer’s ankle got stepped on.
“Somebody jumping on the pile stepped on his ankle,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland told the media before Tuesday night’s game against the Royals. “This is legit. This is exactly how it happened.”
Leyland went on to say that it’s a “twisted ankle, not a sprain” and plans on starting Luis Marte in Scherzer’s place in the Tigers’ regular-season finale.
Scherzer, a 16-game winner this season, is dealing with an injury to his right deltoid muscle. The problem first surfaced on Sept. 18 and caused him to miss his last scheduled start, Sept. 28.
Leyland wouldn’t give a timetable for Scherzer’s return, but said he threw on flat ground Tuesday and that his pitching shoulder “felt great.”
The Tigers open the AL Division Series on Saturday at Comerica Park against a still unknown opponent. Justin Verlander is scheduled to start that game for the Tigers.
Playoff roster possibilities
Leyland also announced Tuesday that Detroit’s postseason roster would be made up of 14 hitters and 11 pitchers. Here’s one guess at which 25 players will be in uniform Saturday:
1) Alex Avila 2) Miguel Cabrera 3) Omar Infante 4) Jhonny Peralta 5) Prince Fielder 6) Andy Dirks 7) Austin Jackson 8) Avisail Garcia 9) Delmon Young 10) Brennan Boesch 11) Ramon Santiago 12) Gerald Laird 13) Quintin Berry 14) Danny Worth
The only real question is the last spot. Will Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski take Worth or Don Kelly? It’s no secret that Kelly is a favorite of Leyland’s, but Kelly struggled so badly this season that he was designated for assignment.
Neither player has been able to keep a roster spot, but Worth wins the coin-flip on my roster.
1) Justin Verlander 2) Max Scherzer 3) Doug Fister 4) Anibal Sanchez 5) Jose Valverde 6) Joaquin Benoit 7) Octavio Dotel 8) Brayan Villarreal 9) Al Alburquerque 10) Phil Coke 11) Drew Smyly
That’s right — no spot for Rick Porcello. As long as Scherzer’s shoulder and ankle are ready to go, he’ll be in the rotation with Verlander, Fister and Sanchez.
Smyly has pitched in long relief this season. Porcello has made only two relief appearances in his major-league career — both in last season’s ALCS. Smyly also has the advantage of being left-handed in a righty-heavy bullpen.
The only other possible change would be to put Darin Downs on the roster to have another left-hander. However, he would have to replace Villarreal or Alburquerque, and Leyland hasn’t shown the trust in Downs that he has in the others.
Downs conceivably could replace Coke in a lefty-for-lefty swap, but that doesn’t seem likely, even given Coke’s late-season struggles.