Tigers' Upton hurts ankle, exits as precaution

Stepped on by Gose in near collision, slugger slated to DH on Thursday

Tigers' Upton hurts ankle, exits as precaution

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The injury bug hanging around Tigers camp this Spring Training hit their biggest acquisition Wednesday, though it doesn't appear to be serious. Left fielder Justin Upton left the 11-5 win over the Nationals after center fielder Anthony Gose spiked his left ankle in a near collision while chasing a second-inning fly ball.

"We didn't send him for X-rays or anything," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said after the game. "As a matter of fact, we're going to check in [Thursday]. He's scheduled to DH [Thursday], so we're going to check in with him in the morning. There's a possibility, depending on how he feels in the morning, that he may DH anyway."

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Both outfielders went after a fly ball from Danny Espinosa on a windy afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium. A gusty wind blowing from right field to left seemingly carried the ball from center, sending Gose into Upton's territory.

Upton peeled off and hit the ground at the last minute to seemingly avoid Gose, who didn't break stride making the catch. While the two didn't collide head-on, Gose's spikes caught Upton's ankle at some point.

Upton stayed down as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand jogged out from the dugout. Upton eventually stood up on his own power, but seemed shaken up before slowly walking back to the clubhouse with Rand. The Tigers later said Upton was removed as a precaution.

The Tigers are already down one outfielder from their projected Major League roster, with Cameron Maybin out two to four weeks with a hairline fracture in his left wrist suffered on a hit-by-pitch. The Tigers have enough corner outfielders in camp, from young Tyler Collins and Steven Moya to veteran non-roster invitees Nate Schierholtz and John Mayberry Jr., to fill a roster spot in case of injury. However, Upton is a major bat in the projected lineup, which is why owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Al Avila made the late-offseason investment in Upton on a six-year, $132.75 million contract.

At this point, though, the last-minute reaction of Upton seemingly avoided a serious injury.

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.