Over and out? Jose Iglesias' season and perhaps his tenure in Detroit end
Cleveland — He truly didn’t want it to end like this.
He went to see a core muscle specialist in Philadelphia on Wednesday, hoping for a way to return to active duty before the end of the 2018 season. The last available short-term remedy, a cortisone injection, apparently wasn’t enough.
Before Friday's 5-4 win over the Indians, the Tigers transferred shortstop Jose Iglesias to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season, and possibly his tenure with the Tigers.
“You don’t want to leave this way,” Iglesias said earlier this week, before seeing Dr. William Meyers. “Having been an everyday player here, you don’t want to leave like that.”
Iglesias, a free agent this offseason, played five seasons with the Tigers. A gifted showman at shortstop, he hit .268 with a .312 on-base percentage and a .676 OPS. He was an All-Star in 2015.
"I had seen him from the other side," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But finally getting to actually watch him night in and night out, you realize how good a glove he really is. That's been fun to watch.
"He did a really nice job for us."
He was hitting .269 with 31 doubles, five home runs and 48 RBIs this season before suffering a lower abdominal strain on Aug. 29.
"Who knows?" Gardenhire said when asked about the likelihood that Iglesias has played his last game in a Tigers' uniform. "That's for the front office to decide. We know what we are trying to do as an organization."
The Tigers, in the early stages of a rebuild, are still looking to stockpile young talent. Their best shortstop prospects — Willi Castro, Sergio Alcantara and Isaac Paredes — spent most of the season at the High-A, Double-A level.
Neither Castro nor Alcantara were considered to replace Iglesias the rest of the season.
"Absolutely not," Gardenhire said. "No way the bosses were going to do that. They're not ready for this. They don't think the players are ready and they aren't going to put them in harm's way."
Most likely, the Tigers will be shopping for an inexpensive veteran shortstop to buy another year of development time for the younger prospects. Whether or not they would consider bringing Iglesias back is dependent, at least in part, on how much interest Iglesias generates on the open market.
The Tigers had him on the trade block the past two seasons and weren’t able to move him. He made $6.275 million this season, on a one-year deal he signed just before arbitration last winter.
"He's got an agent," Gardenhire said. "He's had a good year, so, who knows? There will be other shortstops on the market, too. We'll see. We have back-up plans and more back-up plans."
Kozma gets the call
In the meantime, the Tigers purchased the contract of veteran shortstop Pete Kozma from Triple-A Toledo to take Iglesias' spot.
He’s played parts of seven seasons in the big leagues, five with the Cardinals. He spent most of the season with Toledo, hitting .203.
"He's played in the big leagues and he can pick it, and we desperately needed that after Goody (Niko Goodrum) got hurt," Gardenhire said. "We're really limited. Koz has been there and done it. We know he's not going to bring a lot to the table with the bat, but he can put it in play and knows how to do a lot of things."
Kozma, who played 15 games with the Tigers earlier this season, hitting .175 with a home run, had gone back home to Oklahoma for three days before getting called up.
"We took him right off the golf course," Gardenhire said. "We need to catch the ball and Koz is the best at it."
Kozma, Dawel Lugo and Ronny Rodriguez are the only healthy middle infielders on the Tigers roster right now.
"We will have one infielder on the bench," Gardenhire said. "We won't be pinch-hitting for an infielder, that's for sure."
Goodrum suffered a deep quad bruise in a collision with left fielder Christin Stewart on Wednesday.
"They told me the recovery is typically seven to 10 days," Goodrum said. "Everyone is different. It's frustrating. You never want to miss time playing. To have an injury is always frustrating. You want your body to hold up.
"I've talked to (the trainers) to see what we can do to speed it up. I need to get back. It's just one of those things you have to deal with. Comes with the territory."
Around the horn
Gardenhire said Dixon Machado's name came up during the discussion of who to bring up to replace Iglesias — but only briefly.
"We've kind of been there," Gardenhire said.
Tigers at Indians
First pitch: 3:10 p.m. Saturday, Progressive Field, Cleveland
RHP Mike Clevinger (11-8, 3.16), Indians: He’s been steady as a rock, five straight quality starts. He has allowed three runs or less in 10 straight starts, opponents hitting .207 in that stretch. He has posted 73 strikeouts over his last 60 innings.
RHP Michael Fulmer (3-11, 4.56), Tigers: Progressive Field has been for him, like a lot of pitchers, a house of horrors. In five starts, he’s allowed 25 runs (20 earned) in 25 innings, including the nine runs he allowed in three innings back in April. The six home runs he’s allowed at Progressive are the most against him in any visiting stadium.