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MRI finds no new damage to Maybin's injured thumb

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers' Cameron Maybin in pain after re-injuring his thumb sliding into second base in the fifth inning Monday. At left is Chicago's Tyler Saladino.

Detroit — It had nothing to do with Cameron Maybin’s injured thumb.

In fact, at the time the contract of JaCoby Jones was purchased from Triple A Toledo, the Tigers had not yet heard from the surgeon who was reviewing the results of the MRI taken Tuesday morning.

Maybin re-aggravated his injured left thumb on a head-first, hand-first slide into second base Monday night. After the game Tuesday, manager Brad Ausmus revealed the MRI came back clean.

“It was good news,” he said. “There’s no new damage on his thumb. It’s just a matter of letting the contusion heal.”

Ausmus said Maybin would not play Wednesday, which with the off-day Thursday would give him three full days to recuperate.

“It's kind of what I expected, really,” Ausmus said. “He said he could pinch-run today. We'll see in terms of swinging a bat. That's really the only thing that concerns me. I'm not really concerned about playing the outfield.

“We just have to see how he heals.”

The promotion of Jones, the Tigers’ No. 5 prospect who plays centerfield and third base, was more about an infusion of offense and energy.

Norris: 105-pitch, five-inning start belies quality stuff

Maybin re-aggravated his injured left thumb on a head-first, hand-first slide into second base Monday night. An update was expected after the game.

“It’s not related,” manager Brad Ausmus said of the addition of Jones, who plays center field and third base. “It does give us an option in center field if Maybin’s injury is longer-term. But we don’t know what the prognosis is, yet.”

The promotion of Jones, the Tigers’ No. 5 prospect by Baseball America , was more about an infusion of offense and energy.

He will remember his MLB debut Tuesday: Jones had an RBI double, his first major-league hit, to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning off Chicago White Sox right-handed reliever Matt Albers.

He finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

“We’d been talking about different possibilities to get a little life into the offense,” Ausmus said. “Mac (Toledo manager Lloyd McClendon) said Jones had been swinging the bat a lot better lately, though he did have a period of time when he struggled. But Mac raved about his ability to run the bases and play center field.”

Jones started Tuesday at third base, essentially replacing Casey McGehee, who was sent to Toledo. In 21 straight starts at third, filling in for the injured Nick Castellanos, McGehee hit .232 with one RBI.

“I enjoyed having (McGehee) around,” Ausmus said. “He’s a roll-in-the-dirt baseball player. Never complains; does what he’s asked. He was unlucky at times with the bat. He hit the ball hard a lot of times without finding holes or a spot on the grass to land on.

“He played a tremendous third base. We just felt we needed a little more offense and we hope we can get that from Jones.”

Jones, whom the Tigers got from the Pirates last July for Joakim Soria, was hitting .257 in 99 games between Double A Erie and Toledo. He had seven home runs and 43 RBIs. He was hitting .243 with three homers and 23 RBIs at Toledo.

But he has been hot of late. In his last 13 games at Toledo he hit .340 (18 for 53) with a .386 on-base percentage and .858 OPS, with five doubles and a triple. In the last six, he was hitting .409, with a .480 on-base and 1,071 OPS.

“I’ve been swinging it real good,” Jones said. “I feel good in the box right now, I feel comfortable.”

He played 57 games in center field at Toledo and 22 at third base. He made two errors in center and five at third.

“He’s played primarily in center, and he’s played one out of every four days at third,” Ausmus said. “I honestly haven’t seen him play enough at third to know whether he will be as good as McGehee was.

“Most likely I would use a defensive replacement for him late in games.”

Jones got the start Tuesday but Ausmus said he expected to play him mostly against left-handed pitching. Which means Jones will likely start again today against one of the best lefties in the game — Chris Sale.

“I feel ready,” Jones said before Tuesday’s game.

“It’s just baseball. Just go out and do what I can to help the team win.”

Hardy up, Boyd to Toledo

The Tigers bullpen, taxed by 11 innings of work the last three games, needed a fresh arm Tuesday. Left-hander Blaine Hardy was summoned from Toledo.

The Tigers sent left-handed start Matt Boyd to Toledo, though that may end up being a paper transaction. Boyd is expected to rejoin the Tigers, and the rotation, after Toledo’s season ends Monday.

Saupold in bar scuffle

Right-hander Warwick Saupold, who has been pitching at Toledo, was involved in a bar scuffle early Sunday in Toledo. He was charged with simple assault. Two Pirates prospects, Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas, also were arrested and charged with assault.

White Sox at Tigers

First pitch: 1:10 Wednesday, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Scouting report:

LHP Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14), White Sox: This will be his third start against the Tigers. His last one, Aug. 3, ended with J.D. Martinez’s pinch-hit home run. His 1.002 WHIP is lowest in the American League and his five complete games leads the league. He’s thrown 240 pitches his last two starts, 120 each.

RHP Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33), Tigers: Here’s how impressive has he been since the All-Star break: 6-1, 1.98 ERA, .167 opponents’ batting average with 69 strikeouts and 13 walks. As usual, he’s been dominant at Comerica — 9-4, 0.942 WHIP with 123 strikeouts in 109 ⅓ innings.