COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. -- As West Michigan Whitecaps reliever Joe Jimenez took the hill Friday evening in Lake County, it only took a handful of pitches for Jimenez to realize something wasn't right. Jimenez was called upon to replace fellow reliever Tyler Ford in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on to attempt to close the door on their rival in the third of a three-game road series. Jimenez walked the very first batter he faced, placing two men on.
After facing just one batter, almost as quickly as he entered, Jimenez exited the game in obvious discomfort.
"I started feeling it in my first two pitches when I got in the game," Jimenez said.
On Monday, the Whitecaps placed Jimenez on the 7-day disabled list after diagnosing the hard throwing 20-year-old with a lower back spasm.
In the absence of Jimenez, West Michigan has promoted right-handed pitcher Chase Edwards, a 24th-round pick by Detroit in the 2013 draft out of Hill Junior College in Hillsboro, Texas.
Since joining the Detroit Tigers franchise as an undrafted free agent in 2013, the San Juan, Puerto Rico, native has been increasingly fortunate since making his professional debut; with this being only his second transition to the DL in the last two years.
"In my first year, I miss a couple games because I had an inflammation in my elbow," he said.
Since his brief stint on the DL, Jimenez has displayed no signs of regressing in his professional development. Since 2013, Jimenez has compiled a 6-2 record combined with 69 strikeouts through 47 innings pitched, to go along with a 1.72 ERA.
Though the young right-hander is far from concerned about the minor setback, Whitecaps manager Andrew Graham has walked his players through an array of injuries and he and his staff are not taking any chances.
Graham sees the recuperation of his reliever playing itself out in a timely fashion. "He feels better every day and will return very soon," he said.
West Michigan looks to improve on its 6-6 record as the Whitecaps start the first of a three-game road series against the Great Lakes Loons in Midland.