Gardenhire baffled by Barbato's injury admission

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers reliever Johnny Barbato

Cleveland — The preliminary report on Tigers reliever Johnny Barbato is, as manager Ron Gardenhire put it Saturday, “nothing severely torn up.”

The Tigers were still waiting for their doctors’ official reading of the MRI, but Barbato has been battling shoulder tendinitis in the rotator cuff area of his right shoulder.

“We just want to get him well now,” Gardenhire said. “That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Barbato gave up five runs in the seventh inning of Friday's 10-0 loss to the Indians, including a grand slam home run to Yonder Alonso. Afterward, he told Gardenhire that his shoulder has been bothering him on and off for three months and he couldn’t pitch through it any longer.

Gardenhire was befuddled by that.

“I wish he could’ve said that somewhere else,” he said. “I wish he would’ve said it when he was down (in Toledo). Maybe they could’ve got him well.”

More: Gardenhire resolute: Martinez still best option for DH, cleanup spot

Gardenhire was perplexed because Barbato had thrown a light bullpen session earlier in the day Friday.

“He asked to throw a little bullpen, he wanted to throw a little touch-up,” Gardenhire said. “If you are hurting, I don’t think you’d want to do that, you know? But he did it. He threw a little touch-up and then he pitched and he says he can’t do this anymore.

“That kind of bothered me.”

Gardenhire was adamant that he wasn’t questioning the injury. He understands that players, every player, tries to play through pain  especially those on the bubble between Triple-A and the big leagues.

“But why would you want to throw a touch-up when your shoulder’s been bothering you for three months?” Gardenhire said.

How'd Lindor do it?

Tigers reliever Alex Wilson threw a pitch up and in to left-handed hitter Francisco Lindor leading off the fifth inning. The pitch was chin-high and Lindor couldn't even extend his arms on his swing.

But somehow, he was able to not only fight the pitch off, but drive it on a line into the right-field seats. 

"He just — he's just a good hitter," is all catcher James McCann could say about it. 

Lindor may have even surprised himself, judging from the sheepish grin he shared with his teammates as he rounded third base.

"Pretty frustrating," said Wilson, who retired the next six batters with three strikeouts. "I felt great. I felt like I was throwing the ball great, and he tomahawks one down the line like that. Just tip your cap and get on with your day.

"Nothing else I could do. Up and in and somehow he got his barrel on it and kept it fair."

Wilson shook his head. 

"He's got crazy pop, everybody knows it," he said. "But it's real frustrating. I don't know how he did it. I don't even think he knows how he did it."

Stumpf update

Left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf, who is on the disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation, pitched a clean inning of relief in his second rehab outing for the Mud Hens on Friday. He struck out two of the three batters.

“He threw it over the plate and we got good reports on him,” Gardenhire said. “But we’re still trying to figure it out.”

Stumpf will pitch again for the Mud Hens on Monday or Tuesday, and he can stay on a rehab assignment for as long as 30 days.

“The big thing is, he’s been out for a while and he’s thrown two times,” Gardenhire said. “He’s going to say he’s feeling great and they are going to all say he did great. But we still want to make sure he gets enough innings and he’s totally healthy.”

Around the horn

The Tigers have set their rotation for the upcoming Oakland series at Comerica Park: Monday — Jordan Zimmermann; Tuesday — Blaine Hardy; Wednesday — Mike Fiers; Thursday — Michael Fulmer.

Zimmermann and Hardy will be on nine days of rest, Fulmer eight. Fiers will be on normal rest.

…The Tigers have been shut out nine times this season, second most in the Major Leagues.