Detroit — Have we seen the last of shortstop Jose Iglesias in a Tigers uniform?
He absolutely hopes not.
But, Iglesias, a free agent this offseason, is heading to Philadelphia on Tuesday to see core muscle and groin specialist Dr. William Meyers. The outcome of that MRI and consultation could determine his fate.
“We just want to make sure,” said Iglesias, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 30 with a lower abdominal strain. “It is getting better, but maybe not fast enough. But remember, we’re human. I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made.
“But it helps to get another opinion just to make sure there is nothing to be concerned about. If there is — and I hope not — then we will treat it right away so that way it is totally fine.”
Time is running out, though. There are 18 games left in the season and Iglesias hasn't done any baseball activity since the injury. He was asked if there was any value for him to play again before the season ends.
“It’s a value for me to be on the field, regardless,” he said. “You don’t want to leave this way. Having been an everyday player here, you don’t want to leave like that.”
In five seasons in Detroit, Iglesias, a highlight-machine at shortstop, has hit .268 with a .312 on-base percentage and a .676 OPS. He was an All-Star in 2015.
Turnbull, Hall called up
The Tigers will activate two more pitchers from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday — right-hander Spencer Turnbull and lefty Matt Hall. Turnbull is on the 40-man roster, but there will need to be a corresponding move to clear space for Hall.
“Just being here is a dream come true,” Turnbull said. “I am still processing everything. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet. Walking out, playing catch in the stadium today, that was cool. That was a big moment for sure.”
Turnbull, a second-round pick in 2014, battled shoulder injuries for a couple of seasons, which slowed his ascent. He made 13 starts at Double-A Erie this season, then two impressive starts at Toledo last month, which earned him the call-up.
He has struck out 133 in 119 innings this season.
“He has electric stuff that you take notice of,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Now it’s a matter of how he pounds the strike zone. He’s one of the guys we’ve talked about as one of the future guys, if he could ever consistently control the strike zone.”
Turnbull features a four-seam fastball (93-95 mph) that cuts and, when he’s right, a devastating sinker. He also throws a slider and has been developing an off-speed pitch.
“Health was a big part of it,” Turnbull said. “Just being able to be consistently healthy and on the field and let everything have time to click. That has something to do with it. But also, just listening to my coaches who have helped me with the mental side of it.
“The talent has mostly been there, but some of the other stuff has been slower to develop. Sometimes it just clicks at the right time.”
Hall's hard lesson
What a ride it’s been for Hall. It started with a mildly disastrous appearance in a big-league spring training game in March.
The Tigers brought him over from minor-league camp and he didn’t get an out. He walked three straight hitters.
“Honestly, it was a good and bad experience,” said the Tigers’ sixth-round pick in 2015. “I didn’t go out and do as well as I wanted to, but it was a learning experience. It gave me something to build off of.”
He started the season in the bullpen at Double-A Erie but was eventually moved into the rotation, and then quickly promoted to the Mud Hens rotation after Blaine Hardy was summoned to the Tigers. In 10 starts at Toledo, he was 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
Impressively, Hall, whose fastball tops out at 90 mph, struck out 135 in 114 innings between Erie and Toledo.
“You have to be able to locate your fastball,” he said. “The fastball is the most important pitch in the game. You have to be able to put it how you want, where you want and whenever you want.”
That’s a lesson he learned from Erie pitching coach Willie Blair.
“When I went into the offseason last year, he sat me down and told me I needed to learn how to command my fastball,” Hall said. “He said, ‘If you can put your fastball where you want it, you can basically do whatever you want.'”
That’s been true to this point.
Gardenhire wouldn’t say how he would use Turnbull or Hall. Presumably, Turnbull will join the rotation making it a six-man rotation. Hall may either work in long relief or in a spot-start situation.
What about Hardy?
Hardy, one of the success stories of this season, has only pitched two innings since Aug. 14, when he went on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.
Gardenhire said Monday that he has not been shut down for the season, but the Tigers are being cautious.
“He had a little inflammation and we backed off him,” Gardenhire said. “He’s going to throw a bullpen today or tomorrow and we’ll see how he feels.”
Hardy said he wasn’t overly concerned about the elbow and there has been no discussion of surgery.
“I just have to get it more strong for next year,” he said. “And preparing to be a starter for next year should help strengthen it. On top of that, I plan on getting myself in better shape, as well.”
This will be the first off-season in several years that Hardy will do a starting pitcher’s offseason program.
“Getting ready as a reliever means you show up almost to the point of being ready for the season and then pushing it hard for three or four weeks,” he said. “As a starter, you can’t do that. A big part of my off-season will be adjusting my routine.”
Tuesday: Astros at Tigers
First pitch: 7:10 Comerica Park, Detroit
►LHP Framber Valdez (3-1, 1.37), Astros: It will be the fourth start for the rookie. He’s allowed three runs in 15.1 innings with 11 strikeouts in his previous starts. With a sinking, 91-mph two-seam fastball and a slow curve ball, he has posted an impressive 70.6-percent ground ball rate.
►RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-6, 4.03), Tigers: All things considered, this is shaping up to me a solid, bounce-back year. His ERA (more than two runs less than last season) and WHIP (1.2) are the lowest since he put on a Detroit uniform. His 5-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is his best since his All-Star season in 2014.