St. Petersburg, Fla. — They had held out hope that Jose Iglesias would be fine. That he needed only a day away from lineup stresses and that he would be good to go in time for tonight’s series opener against the Twins at Target Field.
But by late Thursday, as the Tigers boarded a flight to Minneapolis for a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins, a feared move was made official.
Iglesias will be placed Friday on the seven-day disabled list specifically designed as part of big-league baseball’s concussion protocol. Right-handed reliever Joe Jimenez will join the Tigers in Minnesota as Iglesias’ roster replacement.
The roster move was the second of the day for the Tigers, who Thursday lost their series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-1, and sent the Tigers to a third consecutive defeat at Tropicana Field.
Warwick Saupold was optioned to Triple A Toledo and left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy was recalled.
The decision to move Iglesias to the DL came less than 24 hours after a knee to his jaw left the Tigers shortstop flat-faced on Tropicana Field’s infield dirt. He collided with Rays baserunner Brad Miller in what became the final event in a botched double play, which scored two Rays runs and gave Tampa Bay an 8-7 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday.
Iglesias was scratched from Thursday’s lineup and was being monitored by Tigers trainers and doctors.
“Still had a headache,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said in Thursday’s only official update on Iglesias.
But by the time Ausmus and Tigers players and staff had boarded the team charter, Jimenez was on his way to Minneapolis, along with Hardy, following their April layovers at Toledo.
Jimenez, 22, had a scoreless one-inning cameo for the Tigers this month but has otherwise pitched for the Mud Hens, where he has been brilliant: five innings, three hits, no runs, two walks, 10 strikeouts.
Hardy is 3-0 in four games and has a 1.23 ERA, with a 0.68 WHIP.
Dixon Machado started at shortstop Thursday in Iglesias’ stead and will be the primary option there, along with Andrew Romine, until Iglesias returns.
Romine started in left field for the second consecutive game as Justin Upton remained on the shelf.
Upton was hurt trying to break up a double play in Tuesday’s loss to the Rays. He got clipped on the right arm by shortstop Tim Beckham’s relay and was left with a bad bruise.
Upton nearly made it back Thursday but was held out at the last minute when a batting-practice session wasn’t entirely encouraging.
Upton said afterward he expected to be ready to go in Friday night’s opener against the Twins.