Even on a night when Miguel Cabrera homers twice and they overpower the Oakland A's to earn a critical 12-2 victory, the Detroit Tigers come away much worse for the wear after two key players in their push for a postseason position were forced to exit early with shoulder ailments.
Starting pitcher Max Scherzer, who entered the game with a 16-6 record, a 3.77 ERA and has assumed the role as Detroit's No. 2 starter behind Justin Verlander, was the first to go, lasting only two innings before heading to the clubhouse with a trainer in tow.
That was an ominous sign for Tigers fans, obviously, but the good news is a postgame MRI revealed no structural damage in the shoulder.
''I didn't have any pain in my shoulder - it was just like my arm was dead,'' Scherzer said. ''MRI came back negative. All the structural - it's all good.''
With major injury averted, the Tigers and Scherzer are labeling the ailment as shoulder fatigue and say he'll be reevaluated in a few days. It's a best-case scenario under the circumstances, but even with the best case seemingly playing out, the potential Cy Young candidate will miss a start or two at the very least. And with Detroit's margin for error shrinking as they remain three games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central and five games behind the second wild-card position, it's still a damaging blow.
Also lost for Detroit was Quintin Berry, who came down hard on his right shoulder while attempting to make a diving catch on Josh Reddick's blooper in left field. Berry didn't make the grab, but the left-handed outfielder was able to get the ball back into the infield before clutching the injured shoulder, which dangled at his side as he walked off with trainers.
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The initial fear had to be a separated shoulder for Berry, but according to Jason Beck the Tigers received more best-case scenario news as X-rays on the shoulder came back negative. Berry will be listed as day-to-day with a contusion.
So again, major injury averted, but the timing of these two injuries — major or otherwise — along with Alex Avila's bell-ringing at the elbow of teammate Prince Fielder — which the team insists is not a concussion — over the weekend, could not be any worse for a team struggling to stay alive.
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