With Jose Iglesias' Opening Day start already in jeopardy, news Friday is that he'll see a second specialist for his shin splints. The specialist "happens to be" in Lakeland, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told media (via Jason Beck's blog.) After initially treating the injury with a mixture of hot and cold, the team hopes to find a solution to prevent future recurrences of the injury.
Iglesias has experienced less pain since seeing the first specialist. Extra cushion from orthotics has allowed Iglesias to run better and feel more comfortable, according to Beck, and Iglesias had returned to some baseball activities since then.
However, that may not be enough with the regular season just 17 days away. Ausmus had said in the past Iglesias will need 55 plate appearances in spring training to get ready. He has not played in a Grapefruit League game since Feb. 27. Iglesias has two at bats and a walk.
"We're not there yet, but it's getting more and more tenuous by the day. If he comes in the next few days and says, ‘I can play,' we can always use the minor-league games. We'll just wait and see.
"You can do whatever you want down there. He could lead off every inning and not play the field. He could lead off and play the field in the first, lead off in the second and not play the field and alterate for a few innings, get five at-bats but only play three innings in the field."
So it's still too early to jump to any conclusions, but it's a situation to continue monitoring going forward.
If Iglesias is not able to make the Opening Day start, Eugenio Suarez could be next in line at shortstop, MLive's Chris Iott writes. That's assuming Iglesias is forced to the disabled list to begin the season. If he's on the 25-man roster, the Tigers would more likely use utilityman Steve Lombardozzi, acquired from the Nationals along with left-handed pitchers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray in the Doug Fister trade.
Hernan Perez is a second baseman who can play shortstop. Suarez is a shortstop. If the Tigers are going to call up someone to fill in, why not call up the guy who plays shortstop full-time?
"He's come out a little bit, especially defensively," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday regarding the impression Suarez has made this spring. "He might not have quite the range a guy like Iglesias has, but he's certainly got some really good hands, and he doesn't look overmatched out there.