MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers are hopeful that they'll have Jose Iglesias back in their lineup for Friday's series opener in Miami. The injured shortstop, sidelined since taking a fastball off the base of his left hand last Thursday, took batting practice Wednesday for the first time since the injury.
Iglesias has been fielding ground balls at short during pregame work for the past few days. Swinging a bat has been his main limitation, an obstacle he cleared when he began hitting soft-toss pitches on Tuesday.
Iglesias' ability to field brought him into the ninth inning of Wednesday's division-clinching win to close the game at shortstop. He did not have to make a play, thanks to back-to-back strikeouts from closer Joaquin Benoit.
His return would ease a major concern for Tigers officials, who watched what was initially hoped to be a day-to-day injury linger. When team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski talked about Jhonny Peralta's return for Friday's series opener, in fact, he referenced Peralta as a "safety net" at shortstop.
If there's a bright side from Iglesias' absence, it's that the shin splints that bothered him earlier this month haven't been an issue. The rest should do him some good, while still giving him three games to get his timing and agility back.
Rondon sidelined with recurring elbow discomfort
MINNEAPOLIS -- After watching Bruce Rondon strike out the side on 10 pitches Tuesday night, manager Jim Leyland answered with a measure of trepidation when asked about the right-hander's performance. He wanted to wait to see how Rondon felt Wednesday before allowing himself to feel really encouraged.
Wednesday's news was the reason. When asked how Rondon is feeling, Leyland's answer was two words.
"Not good," he said.
Leyland didn't elaborate, but head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said later that it's right elbow discomfort in the same area Rondon had a few weeks ago.
"He came in today with some complaints of discomfort in his elbow, similar to what he had in Boston," Rand said. "It's hard to determine at this point if it's to that point, so we're just going to treat him today, try to get it quieted down and re-evaluate it.
"The question is: Is it just [out of] going back out there again, getting back up and throwing at 100 percent? Is it that, or is it more than that? We have to obviously err on the side of caution and treat him today with an off-day tomorrow and just kind of re-evaluate it."
Rand did not give a timetable, and he wouldn't say it's day to day. Rand did not, however, use the same outlook as Leyland.
"I would say Jim said not good because he doesn't have him available tonight," Rand said. "It's never good when I walk in [to his office] and tell him you haven't got that guy for tonight."
Even if Rondon feels fine on Friday, it's not clear whether the Tigers would put him back in the bullpen immediately. It's quite possible he won't pitch until next week, which would leave the club to weigh whether he's healthy enough to pitch in the postseason.