Jones diagnosed with tendinitis
Reliever likely out until at least mid-August with injury
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tigers will be without Todd Jones until at least mid-August, as manager Jim Leyland revealed Friday's MRI results -- taken on Thursday -- which diagnosed the pitcher with right shoulder tendinitis.
The club placed Jones on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, on the heels of a particularly rough outing in Cleveland. Afterwards, the right-hander admitted he had been experiencing discomfort for "about six weeks," but only recently had his shoulder pain followed him into a game.
"It started creeping into my long toss and creeping into my outings and that's when you aren't helping," Jones said. "You got to be professional, when things aren't there. It's important. It's important for your teammates to go out there with no excuses, and I couldn't do that."
The right-hander was informed last Saturday night that he would be relieved of the team's closing duties, and said his newfound role as a couple-of-innings guy fueled his decision to inform the team of his injury.
"If I was able to help the club to get outs, you don't say anything because you are the closer," Jones said. "And you go every day because your team needs you to."
When asked if he would have spoken up if he was still the Tigers' closer, Jones said his decision was more of a result of his decreasing effectiveness.
"If I am getting people out, I am not saying anything if I couldn't feel my arm -- anything," he said. "I've gone through days where I had no business being out there, but you get people out."
Ultimately, Jones' recent struggles -- 25 hits over his last 16 2/3 innings -- convinced him to come clean.
Rays right-hander Troy Percival said Jones' self-assessment of his aging arm was "absolutely right."
The 38-year-old Percival spent time with Jones when he was with the Tigers organization for the 2005 and 2006 seasons and has made two separate trips to the DL as the Rays' closer this year.
"[Jones] still has good stuff to get people out, [but] being at about 70 percent and having to go out there makes that job very difficult to do," Percival said. "I've been fighting it all year, and finally I'm to the point now where I'm starting to feel good again. It will happen for him too."
While Leyland didn't offer much speculation when that would be, saying only that Jones would "obviously be DL'ed the whole time," the right-hander was considerably more glib about his return.
"Hopefully three, four days after [the DL stint is up]," said a slightly upbeat Jones. "We just got to wait and see how it goes. But if I could recommend one thing it's don't get old."
Although he had yet to consult with the Tigers medical staff on an exact course of action, Jones said a cortisone shot and plenty of rest would be tops on the recovery list.
And he isn't giving up hope to return and help aid the back of the Tigers bullpen.
"Contrary to what everybody else thinks, I still think I can come back and help this team," Jones said.
Prior to being shelved, the right-hander appeared in 44 games for the Tigers, garnering a 5.05 ERA. As Detroit's closer, Jones was 18-for-21 in save opportunities.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.