The Tigers announced Sunday morning Jose Iglesias will begin the season on the disabled list as well as see a foot and ankle doctor in Colorado this week. The recurrence of shin splints in both of Iglesias' legs limited his spring training action to one Grapefruit League game, and although he resumed baseball action in the past week the team has concluded he will not be ready for the start of the season. No timetable has been set by the team for a possible return.
It may be even worse than that. Iglesias may be out of action until the All-Star break, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported Saturday. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, reporting from the spring training home of the Red Sox and citing a former teammate of Iglesias, reached a similar conclusion. Earlier Saturday, ESPN's Jim Bowden declared Iglesias would miss "most of 2014" with the injury.
Pain from shin splints initially showed up last fall with the team, but Iglesias played through them and hoped a change in his offseason workout would help solve the problem. However about two weeks into spring training, the pain became too much. He mostly has problems when he's running, or more specifically decelerating. There is also a bit of pain when he is in the field, he has said in the past.
The setback is an unfortunate one for a Tigers team entering 2014 as not just division favorites but a team with World Series potential. Iglesias' defensive theatrics at shortstop, coupled with improvements around the diamond, figured to give the Tigers a vast improvement on defense.
Although some speculated that Stephen Drew is a possible replacement if Iglesias will be out any extended period of time, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told media he will first look to internal solutions. However, he said, "We will keep a pulse on what's going on outside the organization."
Would Dombrowski feel confident with an internal candidate for a long period of time? "Perhaps. I think it would depend on how they play."— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) March 16, 2014
The popular internal options at this time seem to be Eugenio Suarez, Danny Worth and Hernan Perez. Worth is not on the 40-man roster at this time, but it would not be difficult to find a spot for him -- especially if Iglesias requires a lengthy break. He's hit .276/.371/.448 in the Grapefruit League and has an MLB career of .242/.307/.315 in 246 plate appearance. Perez is a second baseman by trade with a .206/.225/.235 line in 36 games of MLB experience. Suarez is a natural at short and is seen by many as the best candidate. Like Iglesias, he's more of a fielder than a hitter. In Double-A Erie last year, be batted .253//332/.387. Suarez is starting at short in the Tigers' game Sunday./