Funkhouser felled by Toledo sidewalk; out for '18

Tigers pitching prospect to have surgery on fractured right foot

July 24th, 2018
(C) Kevin Pataky Photography

KANSAS CITY -- The Tigers' rebuilding effort has already had a fair number of twists and turns. Add the sidewalks of downtown Toledo to the list, claiming pitching prospect Kyle Funkhouser with a broken bone in his right foot.
Funkhouser, Detroit's seventh-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, fractured the fifth metatarsal in his foot after turning his ankle on an uneven sidewalk while walking home from a game last week, the team announced. The fracture will require surgery to repair, ending his 2018 season.
Funkhouser is expected to make a full recovery in time for next Spring Training, according to the team.
The 24-year-old right-hander, a Dodgers first-round pick in 2015 who returned to Louisville for his senior season and fell to the Tigers with their fourth-round selection two years ago, had just arrived at Triple-A Toledo, having been promoted last week. Funkhouser went 4-5 with a 3.74 ERA at Double-A Erie but dominated Eastern League hitters in June to earn Detroit's Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors. He struck out 89 batters in as many innings for the season.
Funkhouser gave up six runs on hits over 8 2/3 innings in two starts for the Mud Hens, both losses, walking 10 and striking out seven. His midseason promotion put him in line to potentially be the first of the Tigers' pitching prospects to get the call to Detroit next season, though his latest injury could slow the timetable a bit.
Whether Funkhouser's injury causes a ripple effect of moves in the Tigers' system remains to be seen. Fellow starter Beau Burrows, Detroit's fourth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has had an up-and-down season at Erie, but it has been speculated that he's in line for a potential promotion with close to a full year at the Double-A level. Top Tigers prospect Franklin Perez is expected to join Erie's rotation at some point, having made three starts for Class A Advanced Lakeland after a lat strain cost him three months.
The Mud Hens, meanwhile, are in the thick of the International League West race for their first division title since 2007 and their first winning season since '09.
Jones wins Heart and Hustle Award
Outfielder was named the Tigers' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, as voted on by former players through the MLB Players Alumni Association. The award honors players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody its values, spirit and traditions.
"An energetic player, JaCoby inspires his teammates daily," MLBPAA chief executive officer Dan Foster said in a statement. "He always has a great attitude and plays hard in every game."
Jones was a player without a role for Detroit when Spring Training began, but Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire took a chance by carrying him on the Opening Day roster, convincing management he could find the playing time to allow the 26-year-old to continue developing. Jones immediately made an impact with his speed on the basepaths and in the field, eventually carving out an everyday role in the outfield.
Jones entered Tuesday batting .207 (63-for-304) with 18 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 22 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .625 OPS. His 1.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference, ranks third among Tigers position players behind (1.9) and (1.7).
The MLBPAA will vote on a national winner from the 30 team honorees, to be announced in November.
Quick hits
• Tigers catcher , who blocked nine pitches in the dirt on Monday night, according to Statcast™, and "took a beating" according to Gardenhire, felt surprisingly good on Tuesday and was back in the lineup. , whom Gardenhire said has been dealing with a sore groin, will catch Wednesday's series finale with Matthew Boyd on the mound.
• The Tigers and Royals played on Tuesday on the 16th anniversary of their 1-hour, 41-minute game at Comerica Park in 2002. Jose Lima tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits on just 78 pitches for Detroit that night in a 3-0 shutout. Paul Byrd took the loss, but he pitched eight quality innings on just 83 pitches. It was the fastest nine-inning Major League game since 1984 until the Mariners and White Sox beat it by two minutes on April 16, 2005.