Tigers shortstops Suarez, Romine both improved with injuries

Shortstop Eugenio Suarez during batting practice before the Tigers' game against the Boston Red Sox.

Rick Osentoski

DETROIT — Eugenio Suarez wasn’t in the starting lineup Friday night for the Detroit Tigers, but he wasn’t going on the disabled list either. The rookie shortstop injured his left knee Wednesday night in his major league debut as a pinch-hitter, sliding awkwardly into second base.

Asked before the game with the Boston Red Sox if Suarez’s status was day-to-day, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus smiled and said, "He’s hour-to-hour."

Ausmus said he would not determine if Suarez would be available Friday night until Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand observed him after batting practice. Suarez took grounders and performed lateral agility drills on the infield, and did not appear to be in pain or struggling to move.

"I want to make sure he can move laterally more than anything," Ausmus said.

Ausmus has said that Suarez is expected to get the bulk of playing time when healthy. He hit a combined .288 with 13 doubles, eight homers and 43 RBIs in 198 at-bats with Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo to earn the promotion.

It’s likely that Suarez, 22, would’ve stayed in Toledo until a September call-up when rosters expand. However, starter Jose Iglesias was this week ruled out for the season in all likelihood. He will continue to rehabilitate in Miami after suffering fractures in both shins.

Andrew Romine received his 38th start in the season’s 57th game on Friday. However, his .202 batting average with just four extra-base hits and four RBI coupled with inconsistent defense led to Suarez’s call-up. Danny Worth, who passed waivers on Friday and had his contract out-righted to Toledo, was sent down to make room for Suarez.

Romine thought he possibly suffered a serious shoulder injury diving for a ball hit in the hole on Wednesday by Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. However, he’s been able to play through the pain he’s experiencing.

"He has to hit left-handed," Ausmus said of the switch-hitting Romine. "But he’s much better today."

Ditto for Suarez.

"He looks good," Ausmus said. "He was on the elliptical, and he’ll be in good shape."

Don Kelly is the only other possibility to play shortstop, but Ausmus would not use him there on any sort of regular basis. If Suarez or Romine was unable to play for more than a few days, the Tigers likely would place one of them on the disabled list and recall Hernan Perez from Toledo.