Notes: Inge day-to-day with injury
Third baseman's toe fractured after struck by pitch
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brandon Inge found out the hard way just how much damage an offspeed pitch can do.
The third baseman was hit by a pitch on his left big toe during the second inning on Tuesday, and though he finished the game, X-rays on Wednesday revealed a small chip fracture in the toe.
The Tigers listed him as day-to-day, but Inge, who hobbled gingerly around the clubhouse, said it's going to be at least a few days.
"It hurts," he said, and removed his sock to brandish a deep red and purple bruise, both on the top and bottom of the toe. "It's amazing, [the pitch] was 71 mph. That's why I was like, 'I'm not even coming out of this game.' Nobody would believe a 71-mph curve ball [could do that]. They'd be like, 'Oh, Inge is a little sissy.'"
So, Inge toughed it out and was able finish 1-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk during Detroit's 14-2 win.
Wednesday, Inge learned that the injury wouldn't worsen if he played on it, so as soon as the swelling subsides and the pain becomes manageable, he'll be ready to lace up his cleats again. He'll wear a metal support in his shoe until the toe heals completely.
Omar Infante replaced Inge in Wednesday's lineup, batting eighth.
Starting struggles: Entering Wednesday's game, the Tigers' usual starting corps had just 11 quality starts of 23 in May, highlighted by more than one stretch of three-plus outings without a quality start.
"I think we've had too many starts recently where we haven't gotten out of the fifth or sixth inning," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's OK if one guy does it once in a while, it's alright with two. But you can't have three. We happened to have three different guys, in three successive starts, go five innings, [and] shot [our] bullpen up."
It's something that has become even more of a concern since Detroit's bullpen recently suffered the loss of two relievers, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. "Simply put, Leyland said, when you have one long reliever and all of a sudden three are needed, you've got problems."
The last thing Leyland wants is for people to make excuses for his team. Yes, the 'pen is minus two arms, but there's no reason for sympathy, he said. The Tigers are still just 1 1/2 games out of first place.
"We've been out of sync for a little bit, but I think people have a tendency to talk too much about what you don't have instead of what you have," Leyland said. "You have to roll with the punches. We're not a perfect team, but we've got a good baseball team.
"I don't want anybody feeling sorry for us. We've got what we've got and what we've got is pretty good. I'll take this team anywhere."
Today's question: Wednesday's starter, Nate Robertson, has surrendered just six home runs to lefties since the 2004 season, third-best in the American League during that time. Who rounds out the top five?
Tigers bites: Roman Colon (neck surgery) worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings during his second rehab start at Triple-A Toledo on Monday, walking one. ... Detroit went deep three times on Tuesday to push its AL-leading total to 40. It's the most the club has hit in a month since June 2000 (44). ... Curtis Granderson is 26-for-83 (.313) over the last 22 games, with seven doubles, four triples and 15 RBIs.
Down on the farm: Virgil Vasquez threw six innings and Chris Shelton had a two-run blast in the fourth during the Mudhens' 4-3 win over Scranton. ... Andrew Miller picked up his first Double-A win after throwing a shutout through seven innings and held Harrisburg to five hits in the 8-1 Erie victory. ... Cameron Maybin had his first career multi-homer game (two solo shots), but Class A Lakeland dropped the game, 8-3, to Tampa. ... Gorkys Hernandez had a two-run, two-out single to put Class A West Michigan up for good in a win over Lansing.
He said it: "It's what he does for a living, man. He's been doing it a long time. I don't expect any less from him." -- Right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, on Gary Sheffield's home runs
And the answer is: New York closer Mariano Rivera leads the league with four lefty homers allowed. Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin is next, with five. Baltimore's Erik Bedard is tied with Robertson in third place, and the Dodgers' Derek Lowe (formerly with Boston) rounds out the list with seven homers allowed to lefties.
Up next: Detroit heads to Cleveland on Thursday to kick off a four-game set against the AL Central foe Indians, with whom they're battling for first place. Tigers righty Justin Verlander (5-1, 2.71 ERA) will toe the rubber for the 7:05 p.m. ET Thursday opener, when he'll face Indians ace C.C. Sabathia (7-1, 3.54).
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.