Báez (hand) out in first inning after HBP; X-rays negative

Detroit Tigers

MILWAUKEE — Tigers shortstop Javier Báez left Wednesday’s game against the Brewers after taking a fastball off the base of his left hand.

X-rays were negative, according to the team, and Báez was diagnosed with a left hand contusion. He received treatment afterward, and his condition is still being evaluated.

Báez, who entered the series finale on a 10-game hitting streak, was batting with two outs in the first inning when Brewers starter Freddy Peralta lost a 93 mph fastball inside. The ball hit Báez where his hand meets his wrist, putting him in obvious pain. It’s the same hand on which he had a swollen middle finger from a slide into second base last weekend in Baltimore.

After an initial evaluation from team medical staff, Báez went down the dugout steps and into the visiting clubhouse at American Family Field. Jonathan Schoop replaced Báez as a pinch-runner. Zach McKinstry, who was in the lineup at second base, moved over to shortstop for the bottom of the first inning.

The injury couldn’t come at a much worse time for Báez, who had bounced back from a 4-for-40 start to hit .378 (14-for-37) with four extra-base hits and seven RBIs over his last 10 games. The hitting streak began the night he was benched in Toronto for losing track of outs on the basepaths. He doubled and scored the eventual deciding run on Spencer Torkelson’s second-inning single in Tuesday’s 4-3 win.

The Tigers do not have a natural shortstop on their roster after Báez, having optioned Ryan Kreidler to Triple-A Toledo last week. Both McKinstry and Nick Maton can play shortstop for a spell, but any extended absence could prompt Kreidler’s return from the Mud Hens, who are at home this week.

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