Detroit Tigers SS Javier Báez (right thumb) hopes to return to starting lineup Saturday

Detroit Free Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Javier Báez stuck out both his thumbs.

The right one is swollen.

“I feel pretty good, day-by-day,” Báez said Friday. “But still pretty sore.”

The Detroit Tigers‘ shortstop has missed three consecutive games with right thumb soreness, though the 29-year-old hopes to return Saturday to the starting lineup. X-rays came back negative, so his thumb isn’t broken.

“It’s sore,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Friday. “There’s no way around it other than time and a little bit of treatment throughout the game, and see how it goes. At some point, it’s going to be a painful transition back into playing, but that’s the reality of where we’re at.”

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Báez initially jammed his thumb on Opening Day while celebrating his walk-off single against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. He jammed it again Tuesday and hasn’t played since.

“It swelled pretty big,” Báez said.

Hinch said Báez won’t need a stint on the injured list.

When asked if Báez could pinch-hit Friday, Hinch said, “We’ll see.”

Báez took batting practice on the field before Thursday’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium but was scratched, then Hinch kept him out of Friday’s starting lineup.

“I talked to A.J., and he knows I don’t like to be out,” Báez said. “I hit BP yesterday, and it kind of bothered me a little bit. I just didn’t want to get jammed (again) and miss two weeks. We just got to be careful with it. We’ll see how it feels today.”

Wily Peralta joining Tigers

Right-handed reliever Wily Peralta pitched for Triple-A Toledo on Thursday, posting 1⅓ scoreless innings on one hit, one walk and one strikeout. The 32-year-old threw 11 of 23 pitches for strikes.

Peralta’s next stop is joining the Tigers in Kanas City.

“He should join us shortly,” Hinch said.

Since Peralta is on a minor-league contract, the Tigers need to make a move to clear a spot on the 28-man and 40-man rosters. Once that transaction occurs, Peralta will be available to pitch.

Robbie Grossman nearing return

Outfielder Robbie Grossman, sidelined with hip soreness, wasn’t included in Friday’s starting lineup, but he could appear in the game as a pinch-hitter.

Like Báez, the 32-year-old hasn’t played since Tuesday.

“I’m going to go through the workout today,” Grossman said Friday, “and hopefully get back in there sooner than expected. Hopefully sooner than later.”

“He’s going to have a full workday today,” Hinch said. “He’s not in the starting lineup, but we’ll see if he’s available today. All signs are pointing in the right direction. For us, we just need to see a full workday, shag, full BP, and then he’ll come meet with me afterwards. We’ll see where he’s at.”

Derek Hill starts rehab assignment

Outfielder Derek Hill began a rehab assignment Friday in Low-A Lakeland.

The 26-year-old was placed on the 10-day injured list April 6, retroactive to April 4, with a right hamstring strain.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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