CHICAGO -- What had been a strong first Major League start for Tigers left-hander Adam Wilk on Saturday against the White Sox ended in freak fashion when he was hit by a foul ball in the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field.
The lefty, who took the loss in a 5-1 Tigers defeat, sustained a left-shoulder contusion, but he should be able to make his next start next Thursday against the Rangers.
The ball was a sharp liner off the bat of Prince Fielder, who was trying to give Wilk some much-needed run support with a runner on second in the top of the sixth inning and the Tigers trailing, 2-0.
The ball reportedly bounced in the dirt and found an opening around the protective fence in front of the dugout as players along the railing scattered. Wilk was behind them on the bench, waiting to go out for what would have been his sixth inning.
"There was a group of players on the railing, and I didn't see it coming at all," Wilk said. "Next thing I knew, it just hit me."
The ball hit Wilk flush in the shoulder, he said, but in an area with more muscle than bone.
Replays showed Wilk wincing in pain and holding his shoulder, as he was walking into the clubhouse with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Both Wilk and manager Jim Leyland said after the game that he was taken out as a precaution.
"It was disappointing," Wilk said. "I'd like to keep going out there and try to keep the team in the game where it was, just try to give them an opportunity to come out. But we might as well just be safe at this point. Getting hit in your throwing shoulder isn't always a good thing."
Wilk was the man primarily responsible for the Tigers having a chance at that point. While Gavin Floyd had held the Tigers scoreless on three hits, all of them from Austin Jackson, Wilk had allowed just three hits through five innings. Two of them were solo homers from Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers.
As Wilk was heading into the clubhouse for treatment, pitching coach Jeff Jones was on the phone to the Tigers' bullpen, where Collin Balester began warming up in a hurry. Balester began the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back doubles to Brent Morel and Adam Dunn for a White Sox insurance run.
Wilk was making the start as an injury replacement for Doug Fister, who left his start last weekend with a strained rib-cage muscle on his left side and went onto the 15-day disabled list.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.