clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tigers' James McCann placed on 15-day DL with right ankle sprain

The Tigers will be without their McCannon for a while.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT -- Tuesday morning, the Detroit Tigers announced that they had placed catcher James McCann on the 15-day disabled list for a Grade 2 right ankle sprain. Minor league catcher Bobby Wilson has been called up from the Toledo Mud Hens.

"I didn't feel any pops, I didn't feel any cracks," McCann said, admitting he couldn't feel his ankle initially. "I've rolled my ankle before, I've been involved with some collisions where my ankle's kinda gotten turned and it was sore for a couple days. But it's fine, I could play through it. This was the first time I really felt like the swelling was so great it was something more than a rolled ankle."

The decision comes after an MRI was ordered to determine the extent of McCann's injury resulting from a collision in Monday's loss to the Pirates. McCann and Pittsburgh first baseman John Jaso collided at the first base bag when McCann was trying to outrun a 4-3 groundout.

The next 48-72 hours will be crucial for the team to have a better idea of just how bad the sprain is. McCann will wear a walking boot for now, to protect his foot while it heals, an idea that he was none too thrilled with. He felt like he could walk without it, but that's not an option and he's been wearing it since yesterday.

"I felt it in my ankle," McCann said. "I knew that's where it was. I'm glad it wasn't my knee, glad it wasn't anything else. But I tried to go back in the game. I walked off the field, felt like the feeling was coming back. And then they took me upstairs and it had swollen up pretty good."

With McCann out of commission, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Wilson will take over duties at catcher. Saltalamacchia will  get the majority of playing time, according to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Currently, the team is waiting for McCann's swelling to go down. Until that happens, McCann's recovery timetable is anywhere from 2-4 weeks. While recovering, McCann will continue his non-playing responsibilities, which includes scouting reports on opposing teams, watching videos, and all other game-planning activities.

"This is the first time I've ever been on the DL," McCann said. "I've actually never missed a game because of an injury up to this point."

That includes college and high school. Not exactly the career-first that McCann was hoping for. The Tigers will be without more than just McCann's catching abilities. His gun for an arm will be sorely missed, and while Saltalamacchia also has a strong throw, McCann's is unique.

The pitching staff has done a good job of holding runners thus far this season, alleviating some of the need for a strong thrower, but it doesn't mean McCann's absence won't hurt in the meantime.

"It hurts. Obviously the longer he's gone, the more it hurts, but it hurts when your everyday catcher goes down," Ausmus said. "The impact a catcher has on a team -- everyone likes to talk about players and their bats, but the impact a catcher has on the defensive side, in game-calling and preparation, working the pitching staff -- other than the pitcher himself, in a given game, the catcher probably has the most impact, generally speaking."

As the Tigers' 40-man roster was at 39 prior to calling Wilson up, they do not need to designate anyone for assignment to make room for him. Wilson, who just turned 33 years old on Friday, has 164 major league starts at catcher under his belt with the majority of his career spent in Anaheim. He has batted .204/.267/.303 in 598 plate appearances.

Wilson's locker is now located next to McCann, who will help Wilson get acclimated to yet another pitching staff -- Toledo had only played one game this season.

He admitted he's going to be leaning heavily on McCann until he adjusts to the staff, but that he's also used to switching between staffs from his ups and downs in the minors and majors. Wilson has had his share of injuries over the years as a catcher, so he knows what it feels like to go down with an injury.

"Yeah, I had a collision at the plate in 2010 with Teixeira, with a concussion, broken ankle, ankle sprain, all of them," Wilson said. "I know it's tough, but everything I heard, how hard Mac works, how committed he is, I'm sure he'll be back shortly.

"It's you're injured. There's no ‘I'm hurt.' It's ‘I'm injured.' That's just the mentality of catchers. There's no such thing as ‘hurt' --” you hurt every day. But if you're injured, you're injured."

In other news, the Tigers also transferred the rehab assignments of Alex Wilson and Cameron Maybin to Toledo, where they'll continue their respective rehabs.