McCann goes on DL, could be out a month

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
Tigers first base coach Omar Vizquel checks on James McCann after McCann was injured Monday.

Detroit – The Tigers put starting catcher James McCann on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and still aren’t sure how soon, or how much later, a critical defender might be back.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday that “the first 72 hours” will determine whether McCann can rejoin the Tigers in two weeks or, perhaps, be shelved for closer to a month.

McCann sprained his right ankle Monday in a collision at first base during a 7-4 loss to the Pirates at Comerica Park.

Bobby Wilson, who came to Detroit last month in a trade with the Rangers that sent Bryan Holaday to the Rangers, was summoned from Triple-A Toledo to replace McCann on the active roster.

Ausmus said Tuesday Jarrod Saltalamacchia will get “the brunt” of starts during McCann’s absence.

“It hurts,” Ausmus said of losing the 25-year-old McCann, whose fan nickname has steadily become “McCannon” for the way he has been gunning down runners on the basepaths. “The impact a catcher has on your team on the defensive side is the biggest impact behind your pitcher.”

McCann was in the Tigers clubhouse Tuesday, limping and preparing for at least a two-week layoff.

“I had hoped for the best,” said McCann, who had started slowly at the plate (.133) but who had thrown out four of five runners on stolen-base attempts. “As it stands, it could have been a lot worse.

“Would I rather it be now than during a playoff stretch? Yeah, but you never want to go on the DL.”

McCann was hurt in the fifth inning of Monday’s game when he slashed a hard ground ball to the infield’s right side. Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison gloved it on a lunging run, whirled, and threw to first baseman John Jaso, who was drawn across the bag by the throw. McCann tried to sidestep Jaso and beat the throw but instead rolled his right foot and ankle.

“The throw took him into my path,” McCann said. “I tried to adjust and hit the side of the bag.”

McCann has never been on the disabled list since signing with the Tigers in 2011. Neither, he said Tuesday, had he been injured during his college days at the University of Arkansas, or in high school.

Wilson, 33, is a 6-foot, 230-pound, right-handed batter who has played in 249 big-league games with Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays, and Rangers. He has a career batting average of .203, with a .570 OPS.

Ausmus acknowledged Wilson was the choice over another Tigers option, Miguel Gonzalez, 25, who signed with the Tigers late in 2014 and who played five big-league games with the White Sox.

Henning: Give Tigers time before rendering judgment