The Tigers' Torii Hunter is examined by a trainer after he was hit in the hand by a pitch thrown by Yankees reliever Dellin Betances in the ninth inning Tuesday night in New York. (Kathy Willens / Associated Press)
New York — Torii Hunter’s left hand was extremely swollen on Wednesday as he put on his uniform, and prepared not to play because of the pitch that hit him in the Tigers’ 12-inning, 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
The game featured David Price’s debut as a Tiger, but Price didn’t get a decision for allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out 10 in 8 2⁄3 innings.
As with every pitcher who pitched for either team in the game, Price didn’t walk anyone.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have been only five walk-less major league games of at least 12 innings, including this one, in the last 100 years, but it was the first ever for both the Tigers and the Yankees.
Hunter was hit, and had to leave the game in the ninth inning. He feared his left hand was broken, as did many of the Tigers (including manager Brad Ausmus), but after some suspenseful moments, X-rays came back negative.
Hunter was relieved, but the pain was such that he didn’t get much sleep.
“It really doesn’t feel good at all,” he said. “But we’ll do a little treatment on it and hopefully I can get in there the next 48 hours.”
There would have to be some serious reduction in the swelling for that to happen, but Ausmus didn’t rule it out.
For that matter, he didn’t rule out Hunter being able to play on Wednesday night.
“When he starts moving around and fluid gets out of his hand, he might be able to pinch hit,” Ausmus said. “There’s no structural damage, so once the inflammation goes down, a lot of times (the ability to play) comes back quickly.
“It’s the fluid that makes it sore.”
Hunter’s just happy that as the pitch was getting close to him, “my instincts took over” and he took his left hand off the bat.
If he hadn’t, he said it would have been like “mashing somebody’s hand against the wall.”
The Tigers are also hoping that shortstop Eugenio Suarez (sprained left knee) will be back in the starting lineup today – which Suarez said is possible.
As for Dirks
Outfielder Andy Dirks said Tuesday that he felt something grab in his hamstring during a game for West Michigan, but the problem doesn’t appear to be serious.
In fact, Dirks will have his injury rehab assignment transferred to Toledo when he resumes play.
The day after
Wednesday was a great day for pitcher David Price.
Not only was it the first day of having his Tigers’ debut behind him — with his new team winning, even though he came away without a decision — shot an eagle on a par 5 at the highly-regarded Hudson National Golf Club course.
“He told me he shot a 78 and I almost threw up,” said Rick Porcello, who calls himself “a weekend warrior” on the golf course.
“It was my second shot that did it,” Price said of his eagle, “one of the best shots of my life.”
It set up a six-foot putt that he sank.
Of his Tigers’ debut, Price again said, “I’m glad we won. I’m glad it’s over.”
Less talkative ...
... than Price was relief pitcher Jim Johnson, who elected not to speak with the media after the bullpen session he threw for the Tigers at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday before reporting to Toledo.
Johnson interests the Tigers because they believe his arm strength hasn’t diminished, and because he saved 101 games for Baltimore in 2012-13 before stumbling so badly this season that the A’s released him.
“He looked good,” Ausmus said. “He was strong, very similar to the guy we’ve seen over the past few years.
“I think he’s anxious to face some hitters, so we know he’ll have at least a couple of outings (for Toledo).”
On the brink
A win today not only would enable Porcello to match his career high of 14, but it would be his first in three starts at Yankee Stadium. He often went to games at the old Yankee Stadium while growing up in New Jersey.
He’ll have 20-30 friends and relatives attending the game, but neither that nor being on the mound at Yankee Stadium makes him nervous anymore.
“That wore off a while ago,” he said.
And don’t completely buy into Porcello’s self-effacing comments of his own golf game. He once broke 90 (with an 88) at Augusta National Golf Club, annual site of the Masters, and has shot in the 70’s on other courses multiple times.
Tigers at Yankees
First pitch: 1:05 today, Yankee Stadium, New York
RHP Rick Porcello (13-5, 3.18), Tigers: His next win will tie his career high, so with 10-12 starts remaining, the sky is the limit. He is 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA his last nine starts, or since the only time he’s lost back-to-back starts this season.
RHP Shane Greene (2-1, 3.68), Yankees: He’s made five starts and they’ve not been bad. Won in Cleveland and Baltimore, lost to Texas at home and got no decisions his last two starts against Toronto and in Boston.