The Detroit Tigers are waiting to hear from absent left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, $77 million contract in November and hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18.
Rodriguez has been on the restricted list — and unpaid — since June 13, when he informed the Tigers that he would not rejoin the team following a dominant June 9 rehab assignment start for Triple-A Toledo.
“From what I know, there’s been no movement whatsoever and no communication,” manager AJ Hinch said Friday. “It’s been pretty quiet. We’ve respected his privacy and just tried to wait for his camp to give us some direction on what’s ahead. So, we don’t know.”
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Rodriguez is dealing with a marital issue.
The Tigers don’t know if Rodriguez is throwing or working out.
“We know he’s safe,” Hinch said. “We know he’s home with his kids. We know he’s back in Florida. But it’s been pretty quiet. All we can do is move forward with what we know, and right now, it’s the group that we have.”
Rodriguez started eight games for the Tigers this season and posted a 4.38 ERA with 17 walks and 34 strikeouts in 39 innings.
He landed on the injured list May 22, retroactive to May 19, due to a left-side injury and started one rehab game for the Mud Hens. In that outing, Rodriguez fired four scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
“We want him to be OK,” Hinch said. “We want him to be in a good place. We want everything to settle around him. We can’t really make any considerations until we know exactly what’s at hand. We’ll wait for him to open up when he wants.”
Before Friday’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers activated right-hander Michael Pineda from the injured list. He fractured his right middle finger May 14.
The 33-year-old started Friday’s game.
To make room for Pineda’s return, the Tigers optioned right-hander Alex Faedo to Triple-A Toledo. The 26-year-old will serve as the 27th player for doubleheaders Monday (Cleveland Guardians) in Detroit and July 11 (Royals) in KC
Faedo has a 4.84 ERA with 17 walks and 39 strikeouts over 48⅓ innings in 10 starts since May 4, his MLB debut. He is pitching in his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in January 2021.
“We’re trying to lengthen out Alex’s season, coming off Tommy John,” Hinch said. “We’re asking a lot out of him, so the more that we can give him extra rest, the better.”
The Tigers have four pitchers in the starting rotation, despite Friday kicking off a stretch of 19 games in 17 days leading up to the All-Star break: Pineda (Friday), Beau Brieske (Saturday), Tarik Skubal (Sunday) and Rony García (Monday).
“We will have to add to our rotation to get to five starters,” Hinch said. “We’ll talk about Tuesday later.”
Timetable for Austin Meadows
On Tuesday, the Tigers placed outfielder Austin Meadows on the 10-day injured list with right and left Achilles strains. Those injuries postponed his plan to begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo this week.
The 27-year-old had already been on the injured list since June 17 because he tested positive for COVID-19. Meadows hasn’t taken the field for the Tigers since June 15.
“I think it just came with getting back into baseball things, with shoes, spikes and running,” Hinch said. “He said it’s not a big deal. … I don’t know how this stuff all creeps up. It wasn’t necessarily major injuries. I think it was just inflammation any of us would get if we started a running program after Being out for a while. It was not alarming, other than it stopped the progression to come back.”
Meadows will receive treatment from the Tigers’ medical staff over the next few days in hopes of resuming baseball activities. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Toledo.
The organization anticipates Meadows will rejoin the Tigers at some point during the upcoming road trip, which features series against the Chicago White Sox (July 7-10), Royals (July 11-13) and Guardians (July 14-17).
“We’ll want to make sure that he’s physically able, but I do anticipate him playing on the trip at some point,” Hinch said. “Probably not this homestand, but maybe in the early part of the trip.”
Meadows also went to the injured list May 16 with vertigo symptoms and didn’t return until June 7. He is hitting .250 with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts in 36 games this season.
Injury updates in Lakeland
• Right-hander Matt Manning, stationed in Lakeland, Florida, has played catch at 150 feet as part of his throwing program. The 24-year-old is scheduled to pitch off the mound soon. He has been on the injured list since April 17 with right shoulder inflammation.
• Righty reliever José Cisnero, also in Lakeland, hasn’t pitched for the Tigers this season, but that should change in July. The 33-year-old began his rehab assignment with Low-A Lakeland on Thursday and allowed four runs (three earned). He needed 27 pitches to record two outs.
Cisnero is scheduled to join Triple-A Toledo and pitch this weekend. He needs at least five or six rehab games before the Tigers consider activating him. Along with a right shoulder strain, the high-leverage reliever is recovering from a swollen Achilles tendon.
• Righty reliever Kyle Funkhouser, another high-leverage reliever from last season who has been healing in Lakeland, has played catch up to 150 feet. The Tigers think the 28-year-old will pitch off the mound within the next week but are taking a cautious approach with his throwing program. He has missed the entire season with a right shoulder strain, which he first suffered before MLB’s lockout ended in March.
“It’s been super-slow on purpose because we can’t afford another setback,” Hinch said. “If we have another setback, he’s out for the year. We’ve steadily built his tolerance to long toss, and if all goes well with the mound, then we will build a spring training program for him. I certainly don’t see that in the month of July, so we’re a month away still, even if things were perfect, given all the bullpens, live BPs and rehab assignments. fact that he’s fighting through the rehab and responding well.”
Drew Hutchison returns
The Tigers signed right-hander Drew Hutchison to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Toledo. It’s the third time since March the Tigers and Hutchison have agreed to a minors deal.
The 31-year-old has been designated for assignment twice this season, most recently June 20. He has a 4.81 ERA with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts in 12 games (two starts) for the Tigers.
“He’s a very likely candidate to come back up here,” Hinch said. “I’m glad he came back. He had other opportunities that he could have decided to go in different ways. He continued to stay loyal and come back, knowing that this is a good spot for him. We laid out our plans on what We think is his path back here, and he obviously bought in.”
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