Posted on September 21, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has formally been diagnosed with a concussion after getting hit by a pitch from Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer on Sunday. Kinsler stayed in the game Sunday after being hit, only to be ejected a few innings later. However, Kinsler began to show symptoms of a concussion following the game and was officially placed in concussion protocol on Tuesday after experiencing symptoms while riding an exercise bike.
With rosters being expanded, there is no need for the Tigers to place Kinsler on the 7-day concussion DL. However, he will go through concussion protocol and needs to be free of symptoms before he’s able to play again. This will keep Kinsler on the shelf indefinitely with no timeframe as to when he’ll be able to return.
“It’s something where you feel a little pressure maybe,” Kinsler explains. “It’s just not normal. You don’t feel normal.” Kinsler says that he’s symptomatic when he gets up after lying down for an extended period of time and when he gets his heart rate up. Obviously, the latter will prevent him from playing in a baseball game for the time being.
Detroit’s trainer, Kevin Rand, describes the concussion as mild, but adds that Kinsler has to pass protocol before he can get back on the field. “He felt really good,” Rand said on Tuesday. “He hasn’t had any signs yesterday or today except for just fogginess. Put him on the bike today to see, and when he had recurring symptoms, then we just shut him down. It’s just a question of when those symptoms clear.”
Kinsler will continue to be tested daily to see if he’s symptom-free, and while his symptoms are not as severe as they could be with a concussion, there’s no way of predicting when they will dissipate completely. “It’s something that I want to get over with quickly,” he says.
Obviously, this is a bad time for the Tigers to be without Kinsler. Detroit enters play on Wednesday just a game and a half behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wile card spot in the American League, putting them within striking distance of a spot in the postseason with 12 games left to play in the regular season. Of course, how many of those 12 games Kinsler will be able to play in remains uncertain.
Andrew Romine played second base in Detroit’s win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, but he is a substantial drop off from Kinsler offensively. Kinsler is second on the team with 26 home runs and third on the team with 26 doubles, leaving Romine with big shoes to fill. Backup shortstop Erick Aybar is also an option at second base, although he’s not had a strong offensive season.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, concussions are not an injury that a player can play through with strong will power. Kinsler can only sit and wait for his symptoms to subside before returning to the field. It’s possible that he could be back within a couple days, but it’s also possible his symptoms could linger until the end of the season. The Tigers are close to a playoff spot, but each game Kinsler misses hurts Detroit’s chances of reaching the postseason. For Kinsler and the Tigers, it is the cruelest of waiting games.