ROYALS (41-76) AT TIGERS (35-78)
6:10 p.m. ET; FS-D, FSKC, MLB.TV
The Detroit Tigers’ outfield has a new all-around look since the end of last month.
Left fielder Christin Stewart was recently placed on the 10-day IL; right fielder Nicholas Castellanos was traded to the Chicago Cubs, and now center fielder JaCoby Jones is dealing with a left wrist contusion.
Jones, who was moved to the leadoff spot in mid-June, was hit by a pitch on Thursday and did not play on Friday.
The Tigers host Kansas City in the third game of a four-game home series on Saturday. Detroit won the first two games, its first back-to-back victories since a three-game winning streak in late May.
Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire initially thought Jones’ injury was much worse, but X-rays were negative.
“We got lucky,” he said, adding that at first, “Our trainer (Doug Teter) thought that this could be a fracture, because he was touching up by the elbow and he could feel it all the way to his fingers. We’re lucky, though; right now, it’s just a deep bruise.”
Jones batted .291 in June but nosedived to .151 last month. He rebounded in August prior to the injury, hitting .304 with four extra-base hits in 23 at-bats. The makeshift outfield on Friday had rookies Harold Castro in left field and Travis Demeritte in right, and second-year man Victor Reyes in center.
The Tigers are hoping to squeeze more innings out of rookie Spencer Turnbull on Saturday in his second start since returning from the 10-day IL. Turnbull (3-9, 3.72 ERA), who had a minor back injury, lasted just three innings against the Chicago White Sox on Monday while giving up two runs on two hits and three walks while striking out seven. He threw 76 pitches.
Turnbull, who had not faced the Royals before, has started four times starts this season but didn’t get a decision in any of them.
Turnbull held them to two earned runs in six innings on April 4 while striking out 10, then limited them to one run in seven innings while fanning seven on May 5. He tossed six scoreless innings while striking out five on June 11, then gave up four earned runs in three innings on July 12.
The Royals will counter with Mike Montgomery in his fifth appearance since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs last month. In his last outing, he gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits in five innings at Boston on Monday. Montgomery is 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA in 24 appearances with the two teams this season.
The 30-year-old left-hander is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two career appearances (one start) against Detroit.
Third baseman Hunter Dozier has been on a hot streak for the Royals, compiling five multi-hit games in his last 10 starts. He’s also hit a pair of homers in two games this month, including the series opener on Thursday.
Overall, Dozier is batting .280 with 20 homers and 63 RBIs in 95 games after going deep 11 times in 104 games last season, his first full year in the majors.
“He’s doing great,” manager Ned Yost told MLB.com. “He’s putting together great at-bats. I think his power is really starting to show. Everybody is starting to realize he’s a pretty strong kid.”
–Field Level Media