The injury will eventually require surgery, head trainer Kevin Rand told reporters on Monday. Boesch has a third-degree sprain to the thumb that involves some tearing of fibers in the ulnar collateral ligament. He originally suffered the injury August 9 against the Indians.
But can Boesch play through the rest of the season with that thumb? That's what Rand and his staff are working on now.
"What we're trying to do is work with the stability of the thumb and see if we can get him stable enough so he is able to hit," Rand said. "Obviously, we were able to do that for a bit of a time. He felt OK, but now he's feeling it again."
With the sprain, Boesch's OPS has gone from .813 to .799. While he's gotten some hits, only one of them has been for extra bases since suffering the injury. As Rand said, Boesch can swing the bat, but not the way he's accustomed to swinging it.
Putting Boesch on the disabled list would seem to be the right move, as Rand hesitated to say the outfielder's injury status could be termed as "day-to-day." If he's better off resting the thumb to get it healthier, why not just do that now? But with major league rosters able to expand on Sept. 1, that might not be necessary.
However, playoff rosters have to be set by Aug. 31, so if the Tigers need Andy Dirks to fill in for Boesch, he'll need to be with the Tigers by then. The team could option a reliever back to Class AAA Toledo (one who wouldn't see much time in the playoffs, with a shortened starting rotation), and call him back up in September.