KANSAS CITY — The Tigers placed shortstop Javier Báez on the 10-day injured list Saturday afternoon with right thumb soreness, adding to Detroit’s growing injury woes just over a week into the season. The move was backdated to April 13.
No corresponding move was immediately announced, but infielder/outfielder Willi Castro was swiftly removed from the Triple-A Toledo lineup for the Mud Hens’ game Saturday at Iowa, just a few hours’ drive from Kansas City.
Báez, signed to a six-year, $140 million contract last November, has already had a major impact on the Tigers’ season with a pair of go-ahead hits. Ironically, it was in the celebration of his walk-off single on Opening Day against the White Sox that Báez said he originally injured his thumb, which he aggravated on a swing a few days later. The 29-year-old is batting .316 (6-for-19) with a home run and four RBIs.
What was originally a day-to-day injury continued to linger for most of the week. The Tigers were planning to sit Báez through the weekend series against the Royals and re-evaluate him ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Yankees at Comerica Park before considering a roster move. That decision abruptly changed.
The Tigers had been filling his spot at shortstop with versatile infielder Harold Castro, who could continue in that role. However, the left-handed hitter is much more effective against right-handed pitching than he is against lefties.
Báez is the second Tiger to land on the injured list in less than 24 hours. Detroit placed right-hander Casey Mize on the 10-day IL on Friday with a right elbow sprain.