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UPDATED: Detroit 7, Pittsburgh 2: Doug Fister leaves game due to right middle finger soreness

UPDATE: Tigers' trainer Kevin Rand confirms Fister did not suffer from a blister. The injury actually is finger soreness, something Fister has battled in the past.

Rand confirmed that the injury was not a blister. Rand and Leyland both said Fister has dealt with soreness in the finger before.

"But I learned a long time ago that there's no such thing as a minor injury," Leyland said. "We don't think [it's serious], but I pay serious attention to the smallest of things." Detroit has just under two weeks before opening its season April 5 against the Red Sox at Comerica Park, which should be plenty of time to get Fister back on the mound if it's nothing more than soreness.

At the very least, we know the injury wasn't caused by playing Guitar Hero. Fister looked ready for the regular season before being pulled, two weeks should be plenty of time to heal up.

(Hat tip to knucklescarbone for the link)

Original post: The big news out of Bradenton this afternoon wasn't the Tigers' 9th inning, come from behind 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The real story was the Tigers' number two starter, Doug Fister, being pulled from the game due to a finger injury.

With one out in the 5th inning, Fister was pitching to the Pittsburgh Pirates' Yamaico Navarro. After reaching a 1-1 count, Fister called Tigers' trainer Kevin Rand out to the mound. The reason being his pitching hand was becoming sore. Fister left the game (allowing 4 hits and 2 runs in 4.1 IP) and and was replaced by Brayan Villarreal.

I'm sure you had the same thought as I did, something to the tune of, "Oh, crap!"

The Tigers originally called Fister's injury "right middle finger soreness." The severity (or more correctly, lack thereof) of Fister's injury been since clarified somewhat by the Tigers' Official Twitter account:


Precautionary? Whew! Everyone please exhale, Doug Fister should be hale and hearty when the Tigers go north.

We're in the dog days of spring training. We've reached the point where everyone is itching for the season to start, and the biggest fear is a core player suffering a significant injury. After the Miguel Cabrera "incident," I would have been cursing the Baseball Gods to no end for another important player going down to injury in a meaningless exhibition. Thank goodness Fister's issue is (going by earlier reports, reportedly) just a blister. At least I can save my curses and fist shaking for another time.

As for the game itself, the Tigers went into the 9th trailing 2-1, the one run thanks to a 2nd inning Clete Thomas home run. The Tigers proceeded to pummel the Pirates' Daniel McCutchen for six runs, with Quintin Berry (who won't make the team, but has been very impressive this spring) putting the game out of reach with a one out grand slam.

Luis Marte, one of a gaggle of relievers battling for the final spot in the Tigers' bullpen, pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th to pick up the win.

Other than Berry continuing to swing the bat with authority (2-2, 4 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR), the Tigers' pitching, particularly the bullpen, put on a show. Villarreal, Jose Valverde and Marte combined for 4.2 innings of shutout ball.

The dogs days of spring training continue in Lakeland Saturday afternoon, as the 14-3 Grapefruit League leading Tigers take on a charter member of the East Coast Axis of Evil, the New York Yankees.