Early season injuries are just a normal part of baseball, particularly for pitchers. However, the Tigers do seem to be dealing with more than their fair share already. Fortunately, none of them appear serious enough to endanger a players’ whole season just yet.
The litany of injuries for the Tigers began with relievers Kyle Funkhouser, Jose Cisnero, and Andrew Chafin. The situation was then compounded by the fact that the lockout prevented several players from getting their work visas approved, leaving starter Michael Pineda and minor league signing Wily Peralta unable to get to their regular preparatory work until roughly Opening Day.
Then, the really bad news started to hit. First, Riley Greene was lost for two months to a broken bone in his foot caused by a foul ball. Then Derek Hill pulled a hamstring, and Robbie Grossman hit the 10-day IL with a lower back issue. Javier Báez followed with a badly jammed thumb. Finally, Casey Mize went down with a medial sprain in his elbow, and Matt Manning was pulled from his start Saturday after only two innings with what is described as tendinitis in his shoulder.
Fortunately, none of these injuries appear to be season threatening. Grossman returned to the lineup on Tuesday. Báez just needs until this weekend to make sure the thumb doesn’t become a lingering issue that affects performance. He should be good to go shortly, and the Tigers are on the cusp of getting a few other players back as well.
Derek Hill got some rehab work in with the Lakeland Flying Tigers over the weekend. He should be ready for an assignment shortly, though whether the Tigers will call him up or keep him in Toledo remains an open question. Andrew Chafin will get a few outings with the Toledo Mud Hens this week, and assuming the groin strain shows no recurrence, he could be back with the Tigers as early as next week.
LHP Andrew Chafin threw a live BP yesterday. He'll pitch on Thursday in Lakeland. If that goes well, he'll move transferred to Toledo for a couple outings.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) April 19, 2022
Matt Manning doesn’t appear likely to be out long at all. The Tigers would probably be wise to skip a start and make sure the shoulder inflammation is resolved, but he doesn’t appear likely to need more than that to get back in the rotation. A.J. Hinch was on MLB Radio on Tuesday, and sounded pretty optimistic on that front.
AJ Hinch upbeat on Matt Manning in his weekly talk with @MLBNetworkRadio:— Jason Beck (@beckjason) April 19, 2022
"The initial diagnosis with him is positive, as positive as it could be. Structurally we think he's just fine. There is some inflammation. There is some tendinitis, some soreness."
Next start up in air.
As for Mize, the situation is more serious, but so far there are no indications that he’ll require surgery. If the sprain heals up alright, he should be able to rehab and get back to the rotation without a major amount of time off.
Hinch on Casey Mize's status: "We haven't learned anything new. It's a medial elbow sprain. That's what is. It's going to be that tomorrow, too. There's nothing more for us to do other than treat the symptoms and let the inflammation get out of his elbow."— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) April 19, 2022
Justice for Armando
12 years on, the legend of the perfect game that was, but also wasn’t, continues to hold the attention of baseball fans. Armando Galarraga’s 2010 perfecto was derailed by Jim Joyce’s missed call at first base, and what should have been the 21st perfect game in major league history arguably became more famous than any of the fully completed perfect games, perhaps Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfecto excluded.
Now, 16 students of a Monmouth University “Law and Society” course, are trying to remedy history. At the time Commissioner Bud Selig declined to correct the call for the record books. The law school students are now petitioning Commissioner Rob Manfred with an 82 page document, asking him to right this wrong. The full story is in USA Today.
With the Tigers home for series with the New York Yankees and the Colorado Rockies, the odds of Miguel Cabrera reaching the 3000 hit plateau at home seem reasonably good. And the tributes are starting to roll in. Evan Petzold for the Freep has a piece with Eric Haase’s perspective on Cabrera. Stephen Nesbitt for The Athletic has a fantastic article—subscribers only—packed with current and former teammates telling tales of Miggy being Miggy. It’s well worth a read, featuring stories and quotes from Nick Castellanos, James McCann, J.D. Martinez, Jeimer Candelario and more.
Once on a team flight, Miguel Cabrera opened his bag, which was stuffed with a comical amount of cash.— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) April 19, 2022
He turned around and held a handful in the air.
"This is what happens," he said, "when you learn to hit the ball to right field."
More: https://t.co/IMOBKHPoDk pic.twitter.com/0XVTT2pCw0
Of course, there is an even more select club on Cabrera’s to-do list. With 2995 hits as of Tuesday afternoon, and 599 doubles to go with his 502 home runs, the future Hall of Famer will almost certainly end his career as the only player other than Hank Aaron himself to finish with more than 500 home runs, 600 doubles, and a .300 or better batting average.
At this point, Cabrera’s career .310 batting average is pretty unassailable on that front. It would require something worse than an 0-for-300 stretch to drop his career batting average under .300. We feel pretty safe there, and it’s very likely that Cabrera will finish above Aaron’s .305 career batting average, as well. Of course, the Hammer has that crazy 755 mark next to his name, and that can’t be touched.
The big fella celebrated his 39th birthday on Monday. Presumably it won’t take too long for Cabrera to give himself a belated birthday gift on one of the most elite lists in the game’s history.
Eduardo Rodriguez on Miguel Cabrera's chase for 3,000 hits: "I would say like 90% of the country (Venezuela) is going to be watching the game, where he is looking for one or two hits. The whole country is going to be watching. That's how big it's going to be." #Tigers— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) April 19, 2022
Around the horn
Through two starts back from Tommy John, Justin Verlander looks as good as ever. Hmm, who could’ve predicted that? (stares at Chris Ilitch pointedly). The Tigers once, and future? ace currently holds a 0.69 ERA through two starts, which is extremely nice.
Justin Verlander, Gorgeous Back-to-Back Curveballs. pic.twitter.com/HXHp3de4R3— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 17, 2022
After more Joe Maddon shenanigans, Ben Clemens looks at the history of intentionally walking in a run for FanGraphs. The Los Angeles Dodgers have Andrew Heaney on the latest hot trend, throwing a devastating “sweeper” to great effect in the early going.
Ben Lindbergh has a good article up for The Ringer looking at 2022’s stellar rookie class. The Rockies signed Kyle Freeland to a 5-year, $64 million extension, and like most Rockies moves, no one can really square this with anything else they’ve done in recent years.
Kate Preusser looks at outfielder Jesse Winker’s rocky start for Lookout Landing. Dan Martin looks at some shaky peripherals from the Houston Astros’ pitching staff in the early going for The Crawfish Boxes. Cullen Jekel considers respect for veterans and necessary changes to the Kansas City Royals’ lineup for Royals Review. Finally, Mason Boyd examines the New York Yankees revamped catching philosophy in the post-Gary Sanchez era for Pinstripe Alley.
Akil Baddoo is trying to live up to his swag on the field. Hopefully look good, play good, holds true. Particularly on the defensive side of things...
Your Shohei moment of Zen
Shohei calling time in the middle of Luis Garcia's Rock-a-Bye windup and Smiling...— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 19, 2022
But, it doesn't work. pic.twitter.com/Mrumwnrz65
Baseball is awesome
Let’s enjoy this one again, shall we?