The 25-year-old threw a second-pitch 89.6 mph slider to Ernie Clement with two outs in the fifth inning. The ball — hit with a 100.4 mph exit velocity — drilled Skubal in the leg and knocked him to the ground.
“I think it got me in a good spot, relative to getting me in a bad spot,” Skubal said after Friday’s 6-1 loss. “I think it got, hopefully, a little bit more muscle than bone. … I haven’t had any diagnostic testing. We’ll find out more tomorrow, but I’m pretty optimistic with where I’m at.”
Although Skubal quickly bounced to his feet, he limped to the dugout and entered the clubhouse with a trainer. He did not return, finishing his outing with five scoreless innings and five strikeouts on 66 pitches.
Skubal will undergo further tests Saturday.
For now, Skubal has a bandage on his left shin.
“Reduce the swelling, get the swelling out of there, and then I guess go from there,” Skubal said. “I’m not the trainer. I’m just doing what I’m told. And that’s kind of the plan.”
Skubal has pitched 19 consecutive scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.22 across eight starts this season. He has allowed eight walks and recorded 50 strikeouts in 44⅔ innings.
“I’m going to take it day-by-day and see how I wake up tomorrow,” Skubal said. “I’m very optimistic. With what happened and where I got hit, I feel pretty good. I’m going to do everything I can to prepare to start in five days.”
The Tigers have five injured starting pitchers, not including Skubal: Eduardo Rodriguez (left-side discomfort), Casey Mize (right elbow sprain), Matt Manning (right shoulder inflammation), Michael Pineda (right middle finger fracture) and Tyler Alexander (left elbow sprain).
Also, Spencer Turnbull is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“We might have to start lighting some sage or something,” Skubal said. “I don’t know. It’s been pretty tough. A lot of weird stuff going on. We’re all trying to get healthy and get back to playing baseball.”
“It’s difficult,” said bench coach George Lombard, filling in as manager for A.J. Hinch (non-COVID illness). “But when everyone signed that contract in there and in our coach’s room, no one said it’s going to be easy. It’s very difficult. We got (Alex) Faedo going tomorrow. We got to find a way to win tomorrow’s game.”