Igle­sias’ sea­son over, and maybe Tiger ca­reer, too

The Detroit News - - Sports - BY CHRIS MCCOSKY The Detroit News

Cleve­land — He truly 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 the game Fri­day, the Tigers trans­ferred short­stop Jose Igle­sias to the 60-day dis­abled list, 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.” Igle­sias, 28, was hit­ting .269 with 31 dou­bles, five homers and 48 RBIs 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 they would con­sider bring­ing Igle­sias back is depen­dent, at least in part, on how much in­ter­est Igle­sias draws 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 backup more backup plans.”

Kozma gets the call


plans and

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.”

Goodrum heal­ing

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

Gar­den­hire said.



John Min­chillo/As­so­ci­ated Press

Tigers fans en­joyed watch­ing Jose Igle­sias’ high­light-reel de­fense, but health is­sues and sub­par of­fense have plagued him over the years.

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