As the Tigers bask in the glow of their weekend sweep against the Chicago White Sox, and look forward to a much easier June schedule, they have one more blessing to count. Ian Kinsler will be reactivated from the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Kinsler was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 27 — during the Tigers’ last series against the White Sox — due to a hamstring issue that flared up a second time this season. Missing their dynamic, Gold Glove-winning second baseman has been difficult for the Tigers, who will welcome Kinsler’s return to the lineup.
So far this season Kinsler has been off to a slow start, hitting only .239/.331/.365, and a mere four home runs. Not quite what the Tigers had been hoping for him, especially after he exceptional 2016 season. However, now that he’s healthy, the team can hope for his bat to heat up once again.
To make room on the 25-man roster, the Tigers have optioned center fielder JaCoby Jones to Triple-A Toledo. Jones — who dazzled in spring training — has been less spectacular than the team would like at the major league level, hitting only .137/.228/.255 in 22 games this season. His outfield numbers are better, but not tremendous. He has a DRS of 4 and a UZR of 3.3, which is just slightly above average for the position, but means he’s not to blame for a lot of runs scoring.
Jones will still have two options remaining after this season. The Tigers will be left with a two-man platoon of Mikie Mahtook and Andrew Romine for center field. Mahtook, who hasn’t seen a great deal of play in the season, was excellent in the weekend series against Chicago. He has only started in 15 games this season, but is hitting for .212/.257/.409 so far, so the plan is likely to use him a little more and give Jones time in the minors to work on his plate discipline.