Manning leaves with shoulder soreness, Tigers bats silent in 3-1 loss

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Kansas City, Mo. — For such a low-wattage, low-scoring baseball game, there was a lot going on in the Tigers' 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.

Not the least of which was the potential loss of another starting pitcher. A day after Casey Mize was placed on the injured list (sprained medial collateral ligament in his right elbow), Matt Manning was pulled after just two innings and 38 pitches.

Tigers starting pitcher Matt Manning exited Saturday's game after two innings with shoulder discomfort.

"Just through some body language on the mound, we felt like he was looking at the radar gun a little bit and didn't quite look right," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. "We asked him about it in the dugout after the second inning and he said he was fine to pitch through it, but he was feeling something in the shoulder."

The Tigers announced he was feeling discomfort in his right shoulder.

"Coming on the heels of how the last 24 hours has gone, we weren't going to take any risks at all," Hinch said. "We got him out of the game. Hopefully it's just the cold and he's feeling fatigued or achy or whatever."

Manning will have tests on the shoulder both in Kansas City and when the Tigers return home Monday. But he didn't think it was anything overly serious.

"Just throughout the outing, I felt discomfort in the shoulder," he said. "It was just precautionary to shut it down. We'll just wait and see how it goes."

With an off day Monday, Manning was going to get an extra day between starts regardless. He doesn't expect to need a stint on the injured list.

"I'm not very concerned," Manning said. "It was good to get a short one in today and I can use the extra day to get more rest, flush it out of there and get back on the bump."

Since spring training started, the Tigers have had four pitchers go in the injured list — Kyle Funkhouser, Andrew Chafin, Jose Cisnero and Mize. Hinch was asked if the condensed, three-and-a-half week spring training was a contributing factor. 

"Maybe," he said. "I'm not smart enough to know exactly what each case is about. But there is certainly concern around the whole league about pitching and about getting into the season. It's hitting every team at some level. 

"I hope it resolves itself across the whole league."

The Royals broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reliever Will Vest left an 0-2 slider up and over the plate and Hunter Dozier launched it into the seats in left — a two-run home run.

BOX SCORE: Royals 3, Tigers 1

Manning allowed five singles in his two innings, but the damage was limited to a run thanks in a large part to a couple of stellar defensive plays.

Third baseman Jeimer Candelario helped Manning out of a mess in the first inning with a diving stop to his left and quick throw to first to get Salvador Perez. And in the second inning, left fielder Eric Haase threw out Hunter Dozier at the plate trying to score from second on a single.

Candelario, who has two errors and was a minus-3 defensive runs saved coming into the game, made three sterling defensive plays. He took a second hit away from Perez in the sixth inning with a backhand play and strong throw behind the bag at third. And in the fourth, robbed Michael A. Taylor with another backhanded stop.

"None of those plays have been routine," Hinch said. "I'm glad he bounced back after a tough day. This game is different if he didn't make those plays. I have a lot of trust in Candy."

Veteran reliever Drew Hutchison took over for Manning and kept the Royals off the board for three innings. He gave up a walk and single to the first two batters he faced then dispatched nine straight. 

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"It was really important for us to get through that middle part of the game, especially because it was close," Hinch said. "He wasn't expecting to come in and pitch at that time. Matt had been doing fine and then all of a sudden we ambush Hutch.

"I am proud of his effort."

Hutchison befuddled the Royals hitters with a biting slider. Throwing it off a 94-mph four-seam fastball, he induced six misses on 10 swings with the slider.  

But the Tigers' offense couldn’t take advantage of seven walks issued by Royals pitchers, six by lefty starter Kris Bubic. Only one of the seven crossed the plate. That was Daz Cameron, making his first start of the season, who scored on a double by catcher Dustin Garneau.

Cameron, though, very nearly got picked off. He ran on first movement and Bubic threw to first. But he was able to beat the throw to second from first baseman Carlos Santana.

Garneau’s double was one of just four hits the Tigers mustered.

"We had baserunners, just no timely hits outside of Garneau's," Hinch said. "I thought we were semi-disciplined for the most part, but we couldn't quite get the big hit to make them pay for giving us free runners."

More: Tigers' Austin Meadows not looking to give up any at-bats vs. left-handed pitchers

Robbie Grossman, in his first game back after missing three with a jammed hip, had two walks and a single and just missed a home run in the seventh inning. The ball traveled 385 to the wall in right and would have been a home run in 28 other ballparks, including Comerica Park.

But it was just one of three balls that were hit with exit velocities over 100 mph. 

"They just did more to win the game than we did," Hinch said.

Twitter: @cmccosky