TORONTO -- Just when the Tigers were poised to get bullpen reinforcements back from the disabled list, they lose the key to their relief corps -- not to mention one of their most valuable trade pieces -- to injury. Closer Shane Greene went on the 10-day DL Monday with a
TORONTO -- Just when the Tigers were poised to get bullpen reinforcements back from the disabled list, they lose the key to their relief corps -- not to mention one of their most valuable trade pieces -- to injury. Closer Shane Greene went on the 10-day DL Monday with a right shoulder strain.
Left-hander Daniel Stumpf, who was already expected to be activated from the DL Tuesday in Chicago, was activated for Monday's game instead. He joined the team in Toronto Monday morning, as did outfielder Michael Mahtook, recalled from Triple-A Toledo with Leonys Martin placed on the 10-day DL Sunday.
Greene will travel with the team Monday night to Chicago, then head from there to have his shoulder examined by a specialist. He told manager Ron Gardenhire about the issue after he threw the ninth inning of Sunday's 9-1 win.
"He said it's been bothering him for a while," Gardenhire said, "and his velocity was down yesterday."
Greene threw just eight pitches Sunday, five of them fastballs, but they averaged just over 92 mph according to Statcast™, down from his season average of 95. It was his first outing in five days, and just his third outing in two weeks amidst Detroit's 11-game losing streak after working four days in a row in mid-June.
Greene took back-to-back losses against Oakland last week at Comerica Park, giving up three runs on four hits over 1 2/3 innings, raising concerns about his stuff. He's 2-5 with a 4.03 ERA and 19 saves this season, allowing seven home runs over 38 innings with 42 strikeouts. His 3.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio is by far the best of his career, but his home-run rate has been a concern for much of the season.
The shoulder issue arises as baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches on July 31, with Greene expected to be among the Tigers' more marketable players. The 29-year-old right-hander has two more seasons to go before free agency, and his durability to pitch not only several days in a row but four-plus outs in a game was expected to make him among the more versatile relievers on the market.
That was far from the Tigers' primary concern Monday.
"To me, it's the health of the player," Gardenhire said. "I can't worry about all the trade talks. This is his life. This is his job."
With Greene shelved, setup man and All-Star candidate Joe Jimenez will fill in at closer. The hard-throwing 23-year-old has two saves in as many chances this season, striking out 44 batters over 39 innings with 33 hits allowed and a 2.77 ERA. Long viewed as the Tigers' closer of the future since his quick rise up the farm system a couple years ago, Jimenez gets a trial run now.
"This is a great learning experience," Gardenhire said.
Stumpf has been on the 10-day DL since the end of May due to nerve irritation in his left elbow, but pitched at Triple-A Toledo on a rehab assignment for the past couple weeks. He allowed two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings with the Mud Hens, walking none and striking out six.
"They wanted to make sure I'm healthy, wasn't getting the zings [in the elbow], and able to throw strikes and command all my pitches," Stumpf said.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.