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Tigers' Iglesias 'still sore, getting better' after collision

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Rays' Brad Miller bears down on Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias on a fielder's choice by Logan Morrison during the ninth inning in Wednesday's loss.

Minneapolis – Jose Iglesias didn’t think his collision with Rays’ Brad Miller at second base was akin to taking a punch from a heavyweight fighter.

“It was a little harder than that,” Iglesias said of his jaw colliding with Miller's knee. “It was a guy running full speed. Not fun. But there is nothing we can do about that. It’s still sore, but it’s getting better every day.”

On Friday, the Tigers put Iglesias on the seven-day concussion protocol, retroactive to Thursday. He’s still dealing with light headaches and a very tender jaw.

“I just come in every day and see Kevin (Rand, head athletic trainer),” Iglesias said. “He checks to see how I am doing on a daily basis. It is getting better.”

The protocol calls for Iglesias to pass a battery of baseline neuropsychological tests before being cleared to return. Iglesias said he does not have a history of concussions and expects to be cleared by next Thursday.

“It is not really frustrating because there is nothing I can do at this point,” he said. “It’s not on me. It’s just something that happens. I am very positive. I am happy with the way I feel, my mentality and the progress I am making.”

The collision occurred at the end of the Tigers’ 8-7 walk-off loss in Tampa on Wednesday. Iglesias stumbled over second base trying to complete what would have been a game-ending double play.

“I reached for the throw and when I went to find the bag I fell down,” he said. “At that point, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t get out of the way at all.”

Iglesias said Miller reached out through former Ray Mikie Mahtook and apologized for the collision.

“He said he was sorry, but he did everything right,” Iglesias said. “I just fell in the wrong place.”

Andrew Romine started at shortstop Friday.

Jack Morris recalls his pitch-tipping episode

More responsibility

Manager Brad Ausmus indicated before the game that the kid gloves may be coming off of reliever Joe Jimenez.

“We might have to use him (in higher-leverage situations),” Ausmus said. “We have to find a way to get to and through the seventh inning, and get the game to (Justin) Wilson and K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez).

“You might see him in a close game in the sixth or seventh inning.”

Jimenez and left-hander Blaine Hardy were called up after the 8-1 loss in Tampa Thursday. Jimenez pitched three scoreless innings in Toledo since being sent down a week ago. He struck out the side in his last two outings.

Speaking through the team’s translator, Jimenez said, “I feel good. I understood why I got sent down. I understand the process, but it doesn’t change anything. I’m just going to continue to work hard and pitch when they ask me to pitch.”

The Tigers are presently carrying 13 pitchers and three extra bench players. Ausmus said they may continue for a while.

“Probably once J.D. Martinez comes back, we will have to make a decision,” he said.

There is still no timetable for Martinez’s return.

Jones protection plan

JaCoby Jones has struck out nine times in his last 14 at-bats.

“We are going to have to protect him a little bit against tough pitchers,” Ausmus said. “He got stuck a few times because Justin Upton was hurt and we needed him in the outfield. But Upton is back now, so we can get back to that.”

The Tigers will try to use Jones mostly against left-handed pitching, which is why he will start Friday and Saturday against the Twins.

“He’s chasing pitches he can’t hit,” Ausmus said. “Pitches above the barrel, not in his sweet spot.”

It’s been the high fastball that has vexed Jones lately.

Around the horn

Ausmus said that outfielder-turned-pitcher Anthony Gose saw his first game action on Friday. He threw one inning in an extended spring training game in Lakeland, Fla.

Ausmus said Gose allowed a single to the first hitter then struck out the next three batters. His fastball was clocked between 92-95 mph and he threw a couple of curveballs for strikes.

“It’s encouraging, but there are still a lot of steps that have to happen and go right,” Ausmus said. “He’s still learning. There are a lot of boxes still to check off.”

… Ausmus managed his 500th game Friday.

“Can you believe I made it to 500 games?” Ausmus joked. “Actually, I’d rather have 500 wins.”

Twitter: @cmccosky

TIGERS AT TWINS

First pitch: 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Target Field, Minneapolis

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Scouting report

LHP Adalberto Mejia (0-1, 4.05), Twins: This will be his third start of the season and first not against the White Sox. He lasted five outs in his first start and five innings in his second. Control is an issue as he’s walked five in 62/3 innings. He throws hard (93-94 mph) with a change-up and slider (both 84 mph).

LHP Matthew Boyd (2-1, 3.77), Tigers: In his last two starts, wins against the Indians and Twins, he’s allowed just one run in 12 innings with nine strikeouts. The scary part is he hasn’t had his slider yet, which was huge for him this spring. His change-up has been sensational, though, thrown off his four- and two-seam fastballs