CHICAGO -- The Tigers have been hit hard by their schedule this week, wrapping up the weekend with four games in the span of about 48 hours. However, their biggest blow from this two-city road trip won't be from a lack of sleep.
Detroit will be without a major cog in its lineup and middle infield, as the club placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
The club also announced that it optioned left-handed reliever Chad Bell to Triple-A Toledo. In corresponding moves, the Tigers recalled outfielder JaCoby Jones and purchased the contract of Arcenio Leon from Triple-A. Reliever William Cuevas was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Leon.
Kinsler, who has a .239/.331/.365 slash line with four homers and 11 RBIs through his first 41 games, has dealt with hamstring issues already this season. He had already missed five games this month and eight this season due to the hamstring acting up, though he was not placed on the DL until Saturday.
The 34-year-old four-time All-Star was left out of the starting lineup, along with former American League Most Valuable Player Award winner Jose Cabrera, for Friday night's game against the White Sox. Kinsler entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and drew a walk before being replaced by infielder Dixon Machado when the team went back out on defense.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Kinsler complained about his hamstring after running the basepaths. With the injury having lingered, he and the organization felt it was best to shut Kinsler down.
"This thing has just kind of lingered now for three weeks," Ausmus said. "We need to get rid of this thing once and for all. We can't just let this thing linger and linger. We needed to DL him, rest him, get him treatment for 10 days and hopefully it's behind us for the rest of the season."
Ausmus said Friday he'd left Kinsler and Cabrera out of the lineup in part due to the matchup with White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey. The two are a combined 10-for-49 (.204) against Pelfrey. Ausmus added he wanted to rest the veterans multiple times over the course of the weekend due to the club's schedule.
The Tigers arrived from Houston at around 4 a.m. on Friday morning expecting to play a doubleheader -- a makeup of an April 5 rainout. Instead, rain in the forecast postponed the first game and moved the twin bill to Saturday. Friday's lone game was also pushed back due to a one-hour, 25-minute rain delay.
Ausmus conceded the scheduling could lead to some fatigue.
"It can hit you at any point, just depending on how tired you are," Ausmus said Friday. "Actually, [Saturday] may be the worst day, especially that second game. That could even carry over into Sunday, quite frankly. Hopefully after that we can get on a regular schedule."
Bell threw the final 2 1/3 innings of Friday's rain-soaked 8-2 loss at Chicago, and he has posted a 2.70 ERA across 10 innings in the big leagues this season. Ausmus said Saturday's looming doubleheader caused him to be more cautious with how many arms he used out of his bullpen. But he added he would have been more aggressive had the score been in Detroit's favor.
"For two games in a row, we're worrying about two games the next day," Ausmus said. "We're trying to use our 'pen wisely."
Jones arrived from Toledo on Saturday morning and started in center field while hitting eighth and going 1-for-3 in Game 1 of the doubleheader, a 3-0 loss. He also went 0-for-4 in the nightcap, a 4-3 win. He already had a big league stint this season, picking up six hits in 45 plate appearances over 16 games.
Leon is still seeking to make his big league debut. If he appears during the rest of this series, he will be facing the organization he was a part of from 2014-16. He has posted a 3.15 ERA in 21 appearances for Toledo this season.