March 18, 2014 at 1:00 am

Lynn Henning

Bad luck piling up on the Tigers this spring

Pitcher Anibal Sanchez was scratched from Monday's start due to pain in the back of his right shoulder, which is not to believed to be serious. With Andy Dirks' back and Jose Iglesias' shin ailment, no injury has been seemingly minor for the Tigers this spring training. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)

Lakeland, Fla. — When it rains on St. Paddy’s day hard enough to cancel a game and all those green-jersey, Gaelic-music festivities the Tigers arranged Monday for Joker Marchant Stadium, you know your luck is not so Irish.

An hour after Jose Iglesias made some jarring disclosures, Anibal Sanchez was scratched from Monday’s start against the Nationals. He has pain in the back of his right shoulder. It is not believed to be serious, but remember that two weeks ago Iglesias was supposedly on the mend from shin splints.

Iglesias had a different report Monday. The Tigers shortstop said, explicitly, he had a “stress fracture” in each of his legs. The Tigers maintained their stance: Neither they nor Iglesias will know with certainty what he has or doesn’t have until he is examined Tuesday by Thomas Stanton, an orthopedic surgeon who works at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo.

Toss in the back surgery that has shelved left fielder Andy Dirks for three months and the Tigers have had better spring camps. Stanton’s diagnosis could make it an all-timer in terms of losing key people for lengthy stretches.

Beyond speculation

The Iglesias situation remains as confusing as it is mysterious. Matters were not helped Monday when Iglesias, whose testimony is rather important to issues concerning his own legs, said he has known for several days that he has stress fractures.

This came either as news to the Tigers or, more likely, as premature and inconclusive speculation. They have received no such confirmation and prefer to wait for Stanton’s proclamation. It also must be remembered that Iglesias is rather new to the English language. He is an exceedingly bright man, but in the world of medical nuance, colloquial explanations are commonplace and not always 100 percent accurate.

Iglesias also mentioned, not for the first time, that he dealt with shin pain during most of last season. Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers front-office chief, said last weekend the Tigers — and for that matter, anyone familiar with Iglesias and the Red Sox — were aware of Iglesigas’ shin complaints ahead of last July’s trade that sent him to Detroit. Nothing ominous was discovered during his physical and a dramatic three-team trade was finalized.

Although he missed a couple of games in September, there were no signs of recurring problems during offseason conditioning. There was nothing of particular alarm during his early workouts at this year’s Tigers camp. Not until the Grapefruit League season began did Iglesias’ pain evolve to a point it knocked him from games and workouts.

And not until last week, when his situation clearly was not getting better, did the Tigers and Iglesias realize an ailment was more serious and required national expertise. Iglesias was booked on a flight to Colorado.

Iglesias report Tuesday

Everyone is left to wait for Stanton’s report, which the Tigers expect to receive late Tuesday.

If it confirms what Iglesias said, emphatically, Monday, the Tigers will have a better idea of how long Iglesias will miss work. We might also get from Iglesias a more complete explanation for how he knew something no one else could conclude with certainty.

It has been a bruising spring camp for the Tigers. Monday’s events, from Sanchez’s sore shoulder to Iglesias’ pessimistic report, were nothing the Tigers would celebrate, even on a day when green beer flowed and shamrocks connote something the Tigers haven’t much enjoyed in Florida in 2014: luck.

lynn.henning@detroitnews.com
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