DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price left Friday night's game in the seventh inning with an injury sustained after stepping on a bat behind home plate. After leaving the game Price underwent treatment for the injury, which was diagnosed as a right hamstring injury.
"It's nothing I've ever been through before, so I guess we'll find out more tomorrow," Price said after the game. "I stepped on the bat with my heel, then it rolled toward the front of my foot. Felt like it kind of hyperextended my leg a little bit. I don't know."
The injury, which appeared to be an ankle injury, was later labeled as a hamstring injury. Price will undergo further further treatment for a more concrete diagnosis on Saturday before the Tigers have more information.
Manager Brad Ausmus said that Price might have faced one more batter in that instance, but nothing more. So despite leaving with the injury in the seventh, Price was nearing the end of his night after crossing the 100 pitch mark and factoring in his earlier struggles. Until Price is re-evaluated Saturday morning, though, there's not much to do but wait, regardless of the concern level.
"Any injury is concerning, especially when you're talking about the ace of your staff," Ausmus said. "But I think I'm less concerned now than I was when I was in the dugout while he was upstairs getting treated -- not that I know what the diagnosis is."
With one out in the seventh Price had given up back-to-back singles to Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales. At 102 pitches, Price faced Alex Gordon, who was already 2-for-3 for the night. Gordon knocked an 0-1 pitch for a line drive RBI single for the go-ahead run against the Tigers, but on the throw back to home by Anthony Gose, Price -- who had backtracked behind home plate to get out of the way -- tripped over a bat.
Coincidentally, the bat, which had been at home plate moments ago, was tossed over the Olde English D by the home plate umpire, Alan Porter. Price, attempting to clear the field of play, tripped, injuring his right leg.
At the top of the visiting dugout, Price was bent over. Ausmus and assistant athletic trainer Matt Rankin rushed out to attend to the lefty, but after some warmup pitches, Price bent over on the mound again and was removed from the game for the night, at 103 pitches. Alex Wilson, who had been warming in the bullpen along with Angel Nesbitt, replaced Price and ended the seventh with a 4-6-3 double play.
Interestingly enough, Price was cruising through three innings before he ran into trouble in the fourth and seventh innings, the latter of which knocked him out of the game. And even after the fourth, Price retired the Royals on 11 and 15 pitches respectively, including his first (and ultimately his only) 1-2-3 inning of the night.
Ausmus had noticed Price had been rushing the process in high pressure situations, and remarked afterward that Price didn't show any signs of it. Still, the 13 hits Price gave up set a new career-high, and the 6 1/3 innings pitched with only one strikeout mark the longest he's gone with one strikeout in a start. An odd ending to a start considering how Price had felt in-game.
"That's the best I've felt in any start this year, with everything," Price said. "You know, getting through those first three, it definitely felt good. That fourth inning, I just fell in love with my fastball. It's one of those things that, when you feel that good, you don't want to get beat on anything else.
"They hit pitches, pitches I left out over the middle of the plate, and that's why they're the Royals right now, why they're hitting over .300 as a team, and they are where they are in the standings. Just gotta make pitches."
Ausmus hadn't spoken to Price yet Saturday morning, but head athletic trainer Kevin Rand relayed the information that Price was feeling significantly better and had "minimal soreness." Price, who went for his second round of tests on Saturday, spoke briefly afterwards, saying that he felt "fine" and expects to make his next start.
The Tigers have an off-day on Monday, and Ausmus said for now the lineup will remain the same, contingent on Price's results. If the results confirm no injury that would require Price to miss time, Price will likely start on May 14 for the series finale against the Minnesota Twins.
Price sent a tweet out just after noon that his knee was fine, confirming good news for the lefty's next start. The Tigers later confirmed that Price, who underwent an MRI at the Detroit Medical Center, suffered a mild strain to his right hamstring. The team stated that the date of Price's next start will be determined at the start of next week.
My knee is BUENO!!! Haha so I really don't care what the deal is now!! I'll be just fine...— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) May 9, 2015