Arlington, Texas — Another day, another starter down for the Tigers.
On the heels of putting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann (shoulder impingement) and Alex Wilson (plantar fascia strain) on the 10-day disabled list Monday night, manager Ron Gardenhire had to pull hot-hitting center fielder Leonys Martin out of the lineup Tuesday.
“The knee swelled up,” Gardenhire said. “Same place as before. In the back of his left knee.”
Gardenhire was told it was an inflamed tendon in the back of Martin’s knee, not a hamstring. But, the Tigers aren’t taking any chances. They were scrambling Tuesday afternoon to get him an MRI.
“He said he could play but we watched him last night and he was pulling up and not trying to steal bases,” Gardenhire said. “We knew something was up.”
It’s a continuation of buzzard’s luck for the Tigers, who last week put first baseman Miguel Cabrera (hamstring) on the DL. And like Cabrera, Martin was sizzling at the plate. In May, Martin was hitting .367 with a .424 on-base percentage, slugging .600 with a 1.024 OPS.
“I told him, ‘I can’t afford to lose you for two months,’ ” Gardenhire said. “That’s why we’re going to get this thing checked out and make sure it isn’t anything serious. We’ve got to keep him healthy. We can’t let him go out there and screw something up.
“We have to make sure we know what this is first.”
JaCoby Jones moved over to center field Tuesday, batting in Martin’s lead-off spot. Niko Goodrum got the start in left field.
“This is a long season and you’re going to go through stretches where guys get beat up,” Gardenhire said. “We have to weather the storm here and keep playing.”
Zimmermann, who took a cortisone shot on Monday, fully expects to be back in the rotation when his DL stint ends a week from Wednesday.
“I should be able to start throwing again in a couple of days,” Zimmermann said. “I pinched something (in his right shoulder) and it caused inflammation. The only way it would get better without a shot is if I take a lot of time off. Or, I could get the shot and take a few days off.”
He chose the latter. Zimmermann has had several nerve-blocking shots in his neck and his back to deal with the pain and stiffness that essentially ruined his last couple of seasons. This shoulder impingement, he said, is completely unrelated to that.
“I am not worried at all about that,” he said. “I would tell you if I had any fear of anything else being wrong. This is just a soreness in the throwing shoulder, an injury that happens to a lot of guys.”
If Zimmermann can be ready to return a week from Wednesday, the Tigers would need a spot starter for Tuesday. Blaine Hardy could be an option for that.
As for Wilson, he was awaiting the results of an MRI he had Tuesday and was walking with a protective boot on his left foot.
“I took off to run (to cover first base Monday) and felt a pop,” he said. “All the pain is in my heel. It’s pretty sore today.”
Wilson has been dealing with this since spring training and he said it had no effect on his performance. The best-case scenario, he said, would be if it was torn.
“Yeah, if it ripped completely, not partially,” he said. “I lose the arch in my foot but I will never have more problems with plantar fasciitis.”
If it’s torn completely, Wilson said the recovery time could be a few days, a few weeks or a month.
“It depends on how my body handles it and how everything heals up. Cortisone shots are a treatment option,” he said. “Now it’s just a waiting game. The timetable on my return will depend on my pain threshold.”
Which has already been proven to be high.