"It's called a pseudoaneurysm, which is obviously some weakening in the blood vessel," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Sunday morning. "And really, I can't give you much more until he sees Dr. [Greg] Pearl on Tuesday."
Dr. Pearl is the specialist who worked with former Tigers Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman when they were diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. Both came back to pitch.
This is different. The blood vessel issue, Rand said, is causing issues specifically in Greene's right middle finger.
"He had a little bit of what he felt his finger getting cold, prior to the last start, on his middle finger," Rand explained. "Initially we thought it had to do with a major blister that he had on that same finger, but obviously [it's] a little deeper than that."
It's also different than the hand issues that bothered him during a mid-May start at St. Louis.
"At that time he had just a slight case of ulnar neuritis, and that was the ring finger," Rand said.
Still, Greene's season took a statistical turn for the worse around that time or shortly before, and at least at the big league level, he hasn't gotten out of it since. The right-handed sinkerballer went from allowing one earned run over 23 innings in his first three starts to being optioned to Toledo in June to being relegated to long relief in Detroit after the All-Star break. He rejoined the Mud Hens rotation earlier this month.
It's not clear yet whether surgery will be required to fix the issue. While Rand wouldn't give a timetable either way, manager Brad Ausmus indicated Greene's season is likely over.
The diagnosis is the latest medical malady to a Tigers starting staff that has been plagued by injuries since Spring Training. Justin Verlander missed the first two months with a right triceps strain. His fill-in, Kyle Lobstein, went on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort in late May and is currently struggling to get his old form back on a rehab assignment at Toledo. Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris went on the DL earlier this week for a rotator cuff strain and oblique strain, respectively. Alfredo Simon pitched through a groin strain a few weeks ago, but was clearly hampered by it.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.