It’s the latest potential injury concern for a club that currently has Christin Stewart, Jeimer Candelario and Josh Harrison on the injured list, in addition to having just traded Nicholas Castellanos. But it wasn’t the worst-case scenario.
“We got lucky,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Out on the field right away, our trainer [Doug Teter] thought that this could be a fracture, because he was touching up by the elbow and he could feel it all the way to his fingers. We’re lucky, though; right now, it’s just a deep bruise.”
Jones struck out in the first inning against Royals starter Jorge Lopez, who entered the opener with five hit batsmen in 84 1/3 innings this season. Jones batted with a 1-2 count in the second when Lopez lost a fastball inside that seemingly hit Jones squarely on the hand.
Jones dropped the bat and backed out of the box, clearly in pain. Victor Reyes, who pinch-ran for Jones before taking over in center field, went 2-for-3, including a triple and an RBI forceout.
Jones has been one of the few bright spots for the Tigers, overcoming a slow start thanks to an adjustment in his batting stance to bring his hands lower. The tweak has allowed him to be quicker to pitches, though it didn’t help him on Thursday.
Jones entered the game batting .236 with 11 home runs, 26 RBIs and a .740 OPS.