Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has been diagnosed with a concussion and will have to clear concussion protocols before he is cleared to return to the playing field, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told reporters, including Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (links to Twitter). Kinsler suffered the concussion over the weekend when he was hit in the head by a Trevor Bauer fastball (via MLB.com’s Jason Beck).
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While the injury could certainly prove to be short-term in nature — Kinsler will be tested daily — history has shown that even mild concussions can linger for lengthy periods of time. With the Tigers currently two and a half games out of a Wild Card spot as 13 games remain in the season, though, Kinsler’s absence will be a notable detriment to the team’s postseason hopes. Detroit does have the luxury of lining up against baseball’s two worst teams — the Twins and Braves — for six of those 13 remaining games, but swapping out Kinsler for Andrew Romine weakens the team’s day-to-day chances of narrowing the gap that separates them from the Orioles. Trade acquisition Erick Aybar also represents an option for manager Brad Ausmus while Kinsler is sidelined.
Kinsler is in the midst of his best offensive season since 2011, as he’s hitting .277/.335/.469 with 26 homers, 26 doubles and four triples to go along with 14 steals. He’s also playing his typical brand of elite defense at second base, as Defensive Runs Saved pegs him at +12 runs while Ultimate Zone Rating pegs him at 10 runs above average. Kinsler, 34, has one year remaining on his five-year, $85MM deal and is slated to earn $11MM next season. Detroit also holds a $10MM option on him for the 2018 campaign.