Detroit – The Tigers injured list now stands at six.
Joining Daniel Norris, who was placed on the list Wednesday, are fellow pitchers Alex Faedo and Tarik Skubal, infielders Sergio Alcantara and Isaac Paredes and outfielder Daz Cameron.
None of these players have participated in camp, though Alcantara did take batting practice one day, and none of them have a physical injury. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they all tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Tigers are not identifying players who are in the virus protocol, though Norris made it known Thursday that he did test positive and is waiting to pass back-to-back COVID-19 tests before returning.
“People thinking I’m hurt again is tough to swallow since it’s been the story of my career," Norris said in a text to the Detroit News. "I am healthy and ready to rock as soon as I get some good news.”
The other players on the list could either have tested positive for the virus or for the antibody, or they could just be waiting for test results. Outfielder Victor Reyes was back in camp yesterday after waiting several days for test results.
In a normal spring training, clubs aren't required to put players on the injured list until three days before Opening Day. That’s why Tigers outfield prospect Troy Stokes Jr., who is out with a wrist injury, hasn’t yet been placed on the injured list.
This year, teams have until July 20 to officially place players on either the injured list or COVID-19 list. Players on the COVID-19 list will not be officially named. Also, there is no minimum or maximum length for a stay on the COVID-19 list.
So, the timing of the Tigers putting those six players on the injured list is mostly insignificant. The Tigers could replace any of those players and fortify their 60-man player pool, but that’s not likely to happen.
Norris is the only one of the six who is expected to be on the 30-man active roster to start the season. The others – all among the Tigers’ top prospects – are ticketed for the taxi squad, which will train in Toledo at Fifth Third Field.
Unless any of those six players was facing a long-term absence – which is not believed to be the case – then there would be no reason to replace them.
Besides Norris missing valuable time in a condensed training camp – he was expected to be in the starting rotation – the only other potential drawback from those six players being out is the added workload it puts on some of the veteran players in camp.
In the intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, for example, starters Niko Goodrum, Jonathan Schoop, Jeimer Candelario, Christin Stewart, JaCoby Jones, as well as Jordy Mercer and Harold Castro, played nine full innings, just five days into camp.
“You always worry about guys being on the field too much this early,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But we’re kind of thin on the bench with some of those guys gone right now. We don’t have that many back-ups.”
But since opening day in Cincinnati is just 14 days away, easing into camp isn't really an option.
“I’ll tell you this, the guys keep saying, ‘We’re fine, we want to play,’” Gardenhire said. “We need as many at-bats as we can get.”
There will be intrasquad games Saturday (noon) and Sunday – both live-streamed on Tigers.com – but Gardenhire said a light work day will be scheduled early next week.