Chicago — Apparently there is no such thing as a minor arm injury. Not when that arm is attached to a Tigers pitcher.
Manager AJ Hinch announced before the game Friday that lefty Tarik Skubal was going on the 60-day injured list and would be seeing a specialist in Los Angeles on Monday. His season is over.
“We have had more than our share of issues, that’s for sure,” Hinch said. “This is yet another.”
Skubal pulled himself out of his start in Minnesota on Aug. 1 after five innings, saying his arm felt fatigued after 77 pitches. He was placed on the 15-day injured list and even though the Tigers planned to be ultracautious and bring him back slowly, he was expected to return to the rotation in September.
But after resuming his throwing program this week, the discomfort, located in the elbow area, persisted.
“We’re concerned about Tarik,” Hinch said. “He’s not going to pitch for the rest of the season. That much we know. He’s in Los Angeles getting yet another opinion. The inflammation, the pain he’d felt, it continued when he started throwing again.”
Skubal will be seen by specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who is also the head team physician for the L.A. Dodgers and Rams, on Monday.
“Because it’s more in the elbow area, it brings significant concern for us,” Hinch said. “He’s already been evaluated by our team doctors and another independent doctor. We’ll have a more detailed response when we get more feedback.”
Skubal made 21 starts this season covering 117⅔ innings. But for a five-start stretch, he was dominant.
“It’s hard to decipher sometimes when to pitch through something and when not to pitch through,” Hinch said. “Pitchers pride themselves on staying on the field. When Tarik told me he needed to come out (in Minnesota), that concerned me. That’s rarely if ever happened. That was probably a peek at exactly what he was feeling.”
Hinch did not want to comment or speculate on whether surgery might be indicated for Skubal. Skubal had Tommy John surgery in 2016. Typically that surgery holds for at least seven years.
“He’s resolute about finding a solution to make him better,” Hinch said. “But he prides himself on taking the ball. He wants to pitch through anything. We took it out of his hands and continued the evaluation process. His attitude has been great about it.”
All five starters of the Tigers’ Opening Day rotation landed on the injured list at some point this season, including Casey Mize, who is now recovering from Tommy John surgery. Alex Faedo (hip) and reliever Kyle Funkhouser (shoulder) also underwent surgery.
Spencer Turnbull underwent Tommy John surgery last year. Catcher Jake Rogers is also working his way back after Tommy John surgery.