When the Detroit Tigers picked up a 9-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday at Comerica Park, the players stormed the field to meet Harold Castro, who haddelivered the walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to conclude the 4-hour, 6-minute clash.
But right-hander Jose Urena and third baseman Jeimer Candelario were not present for the on-field celebration. They’re both considered “day-to-day” with injuries, Tigers manager AJ Hinch said after the game.
Urena has an ankle injury; Candelario has a left knee contusion.
In the second inning, Urena was hit just above his right ankle with a 109.1 mph comebacker from Jason Heyward. Urena fell near the first-base line as first baseman Miguel Cabrera made the out.
“Took a bullet right off his leg, right above his ankle,” Hinch said.
After a visit from Hinch and athletic trainer Doug Teter, Urena remained in the game. On the first at-bat in the third inning, Hinch “didn’t like the way he covered first base” to retire Joc Pederson. It was a sign that Urena didn’t have much left.
Urena allowed two runs in the third inning and got two outs before reliever Daniel Norris replaced him. Norris needed four pitches to record the final out. Urena allowed four runs on five hits and one walk, with one strikeout, in 2⅔ innings. He threw 48 pitches.
After the game, Hinch felt encouraged by Urena’s emotions.
“We’ll see,” Hinch said. “He’s moving around, and he was jumping around in the clubhouse, so that’s a good sign. He was happy we won. He’ll get an extra day no matter what with the off day after the Seattle (Mariners) series. I’m pretty optimistic about him. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Through eight starts this season, Urena has a 4.22 ERA, 19 walks and 32 strikeouts in 42⅔ innings. He pitched seven innings in each of four consecutive games, from April 16 through May 2 against the Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
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In the sixth inning, Candelario left the game after being hit by Dan Winkler’s 91.3 mph cutter and hobbling behind home plate. He retreated toward the dugout, where Cabrera — in the on-deck circle — helped him avoid falling.
Hinch and Teter checked on him and determined he was unable to continue playing. Candelario won’t be in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale, either.
“It was hurting him,” Hinch said. “I mean, he was trying to stay in the game. Doug could feel the fact that it was swelling up a little bit. We’re still hopeful for him. He’s not going to play tomorrow. I was looking to give him a day off anyway. He didn’t know that until right now.
“It’ll be a day-to-day thing.”
Candelario is batting .286 with three home runs, 13 RBIs, 16 walks and 39 strikeouts in 38 games. He leads the Tigers in batting average and was the only offensive player to consistently produce during a miserable 2-15 stretch from April 15 through May 2.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.