3/17/2014 5:40 P.M. ET
Iglesias confirms stress fractures in both legs
Tigers shortstop to see specialist Tuesday, expects to play this season
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jose Iglesias believes he finally has some clarity on the pain in his shins that he says he played through for more than a year. The Tigers shortstop confirmed reports Monday morning that he has been diagnosed with stress fractures in both of his legs.
The diagnosis came in the last few days from a specialist Iglesias visited last week for additional opinion on the shin issue that has kept him out of action for the last two weeks. The Tigers would not comment on the diagnosis.
"This is small fractures in the legs," Iglesias said. "I was able to play through it last year, but that's not going to happen this year."
Iglesias said he won't know how long he'll be out until he visits another specialist, Dr. Thomas Clanton, on Tuesday in Colorado to determine the best course of treatment. The Tigers appear to be waiting for the results of that visit before commenting on Iglesias' condition.
"I'm not going to answer any questions in regard to Iglesias," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Monday afternoon. "He's going to be seen by Dr. Thomas Clanton tomorrow in Vail, Colorado. We'll have something after that."
In regards to Iglesias' remarks, Rand told reporters, "You've all been aware of his condition at all times."
The recommendations Tuesday could be critical not only in the length of Iglesias' absence, but the size of the challenge the Tigers face in filling his spot. Iglesias made it clear Monday that his health is his top priority at this point. Even while he waits, though, Iglesias seems highly confident he'll play at some point this season.
"Absolutely," Iglesias said. "I'll get a better idea when I see the doctor in Colorado. But for now, my goal is to get healthy, get rid of this, because the pain is really bad. I just want to get rid of it and come back 100 percent."
If he can, it might be his first extended stretch without pain in his legs since 2012. Iglesias said he has been playing through pain in both shins since last Spring Training, when he was a member of the Red Sox.
"I just felt it from the very first moment of [last] Spring Training," Iglesias said. "I just told myself to play through it, because I never expected something like that. I just feel pain, but Stephen Drew had a concussion at the time and that was an opportunity for me to start with the team. And I was like, 'You know what? You've got to play through it.' And I did it."
Not until the last few days, however, did he know how severe the issue eventually became.
The Red Sox were aware of the shin soreness, and prescribed him a treatment plan and orthotics to manage the situation. Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday he had to rest Iglesias from time to time to ease the discomfort.
"[We were] aware from the extent that we had to monitor it," Farrell told reporters Sunday. "There were some games where we had to get him off his feet because he felt some pain and some soreness there. But to see what's come out now with the report, I feel sorry for the kid."
The plan of occasional rest and treatment continued once he got to Detroit.
"Last year I played through the pain all year long," Iglesias said. "Sometimes Farrell had to give me some days the same as [former Tigers manager] Jim Leyland here. He had to give me some days or take me out of the game because the pain was so bad. And I was like, 'Man, I don't know what to do to get rid of it.' And I never found out until right now that it was a fracture."
Asked whether anything was done in the offseason to address it, Iglesias said he was advised to rest his legs during the offseason to give the shins a chance to strengthen.
"They told me rest should be the best thing for it," Iglesias said, "but eventually it didn't work."
The discomfort flared up again quickly. His stride running down the line in his first Spring Training game Feb. 27 against the Braves was noticeably hampered enough that manager Brad Ausmus asked Rand to check on him. That was the last time he played in a game.
Iglesias saw a Lakeland-based foot and ankle specialist last week and was diagnosed with stress reactions in both shins, similar to shin splints but different in severity. He received an adjustment in his orthotics adding extra cushion under the foot, that seemingly made an immediate difference. From there, the doctor analyzed video of Iglesias' running stride.
Iglesias resumed workouts, taking batting practice and fielding ground balls at shortstop. However, he continued to feel pain while running, specifically while slowing down.
"I still feel it," Iglesias said. "There's a hint of pain hitting, but running is very painful."
Nothing, not treatment, not orthotics adjustments, alleviated that. Eventually, Iglesias visited another specialist in Florida for a second opinion.
"It doesn't get better," he said. "I've been doing every kind of treatment, but the pain is still really high. It makes sense now because it's a fracture. It's not going to go down until the fracture is better."
In that sense, it could be a worst-case scenario. Still, after a full year of pain, Iglesias said he feels relieved simply to have a diagnosis of what's going on with his legs. He also feels relief to have been told that it should not be a chronic condition for him once it heals.
"It's bad news for me and bad news for the team as well," Iglesias said, "but at the end of the day, it's good as well, because I know what's going on now. It's something that I've got to deal with, but something that will go away with time."