Tigers lose Castro duo to injuries vs. KC

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers, whose surprising start to the season fizzled thanks in part to injuries, are being tested for depth as their season winds down. Both shortstop Willi Castro and infielder Harold Castro left early during Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Royals, forcing catcher Austin Romine to make his first appearance

The Tigers, whose surprising start to the season fizzled thanks in part to injuries, are being tested for depth as their season winds down. Both shortstop Willi Castro and infielder Harold Castro left early during Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Royals, forcing catcher Austin Romine to make his first appearance at first base in three years.

Willi Castro, whose second-half tear has put him into the conversation for American League Rookie of the Year Award votes, left in the second inning with right shoulder soreness. He looked to be wincing on a swing, convinced head athletic trainer Doug Teter and interim manager Lloyd McClendon to let him stay in the game, then was lifted for a pinch-runner following his RBI single.

With one scheduled game left this season, Willi Castro’s season could be over. If so, he’ll finish with a .349 average, six home runs, 24 RBIs and a .931 OPS in 35 games. He entered Saturday with 1.4 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs, just ahead of White Sox slugging center fielder Luis Robert.

Niko Goodrum, whom Willi Castro supplanted at shortstop for the stretch run, shifted from second base to short. Brandon Dixon, who pinch-ran for Castro, stayed in the game at first base and Harold Castro moved from first to second.

Two innings later, Harold Castro, who just returned a week ago from the injured list with a right hamstring strain, was noticeably wincing on a swing before dropping to his knees on a strikeout. Though Castro’s hamstring was still slowing him since his return, he left with low back tightness.

That prompted another series of moves. Dixon moved from first to second base, where he played just three games last season. Romine moved to first base for the first time since Aug. 27, 2017, with the Yankees. Backup catcher Eric Haase entered the game behind the plate.

The Tigers lost Jeimer Candelario to a low back strain on Friday, and Jonathan Schoop to a right wrist sprain a couple weeks ago, in addition to season-ending injuries to center fielder JaCoby Jones and first baseman C.J. Cron earlier this season. They could place one of the Castros on the injured list to call up infielder Sergio Alcántara, who’s currently on the taxi squad, for Sunday.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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