Laird day-to-day with back spasms
Tigers catcher departs in first inning; injury not serious
HOUSTON -- Tigers catcher Gerald Laird left Saturday's 8-1 loss to the Astros in the first inning and is day-to-day with lower back spasms after coming out from behind home plate to corral a ball in the dirt.
Laird had to spring out from his crouch to get to Tigers starter Alfredo Figaro's breaking ball in the dirt on an 0-1 pitch to Carlos Lee.
"As soon as I came up, I felt my lower back just lock up," Laird said after the game. "And I never had a back problem, so I was a little nervous, wondering what's wrong. Usually I won't call the trainer out, but I knew something's wrong with my back."
He walked out towards the mound to talk with Figaro, but eventually put his hands on his knees in front the mound as manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand emerged from the Tigers dugout. He couldn't hunch over because his back wouldn't bend.
"It just got real tight, and I guess when your back gets tight, your whole body kind of wants to shut down," Laird said.
Laird was walking around and was moving slowly as he headed back into the dugout and towards the clubhouse. He was replaced by Dusty Ryan, who was called up last weekend from Triple-A Toledo to help spell Laird and provide some more days off to keep him from wearing down.
The injury isn't expected to be serious.
"Honestly, it does feel a lot better," said Laird, who spent the rest of the game getting treatment.
Laird entered Saturday batting .233 on the season with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 62 games. He has thrown out 14 of 38 would-be basestealers this season, good for a 36.8 percent rate.
Laird, acquired from Texas in a trade last winter, has been key for the Tigers as an everyday catcher to essentially replace Ivan Rodriguez, whom Detroit traded last summer. Rodriguez is catching in this series for the Astros, with whom he signed as a free agent in the offseason.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.