The Detroit Tigers’ lineup received a boost in the final game of their series against the Baltimore Orioles, as outfielders Austin Meadows and Víctor Reyes returned to the lineup. But it was short-lived, as both left the game in the second inning, and both appear headed to the 10-day injured list.
Meadows, who was penciled into Sunday’s lineup in right field and batting third by manager AJ Hinch, missed the first two games of the series at Comerica Park while dealing with an inner-ear issue and vertigo symptoms.
But Meadows’ return lasted just one inning and one-at-bat. After popping out foul to the catcher to end the first inning, Meadows was replaced by Willi Castro in the field to start the second, with Castro playing left and Robbie Grossman shifting from left to right.
“Austin reported continuous symptoms – light-headed, dizzy, nauseous – just didn’t feel right,” Hinch said. “And we’ve gotta get to the bottom of this. So, I feel for him; he’s worked his tail off, he’s been patient, but something we’ve gotta get to the bottom of. So I’m expecting him to go on the injured list while we sort through whatever, what’s going on with him. ”
Reyes was placed on the 10-day injured list April 23 with a left quad strain before spending a four-game rehab stint with Triple-A Toledo this week.
Reyes’ return lasted only slightly longer; after doubling into the right-field corner in his first at-bat in the second inning, Reyes was removed in favor of pinch-runner Derek Hill. Reyes’ departure was announced as the result of a right quad strain.
“Victor comes back from the left quad, worked really hard, went through (Low-A) Lakeland, came through Toledo …” Hinch said Sunday. “Rounding first, didn’t feel good in the right quad. So it’s almost a mirror of what happened, on his left side, on his right side. So, he’s gonna be out for a bit. ”
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Meadows opened the season as one of the Tigers’ most consistent hitters, with a .284 average, .747 OPS and 11 RBIs over his first 22 games. But he missed the final three games of the Tigers’ series in Houston last weekend, then went 4-for-22 (.211) in five games against the Oakland Athletics in Detroit.
Despite missing the Tigers’ back-to-back victories over the O’s, Meadows worked on his hitting in the batting cages.
“I was in the cage yesterday, continuing to do baseball stuff,” Meadows said. “So, yeah, I haven’t missed a beat on that end.”
The injury is particularly disappointing for Reyes. After going hitless in his first game with the Mud Hens, Reyes picked up seven hits in 12 at-bats against the Louisville Bats (the Cincinnati Reds’ affiliate), including a double and two home runs.
“Thank God I never stopped hitting,” Reyes said through interpreter Carlos Guillen before the game. “I felt pretty good.”
After wrapping up Sunday’s game, the Tigers are headed to St. Petersburg, Florida, for a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was set to be Meadows’ first games against his former teammates since he was traded to the Tigers in early April.
The deal, in which the Tigers sent 23-year-old infielder Isaac Paredes to the Rays, wasn’t Meadows’ first time being shipped between organizations. A first-round pick of the Pirates in 2013, Meadows was traded to the Rays in July 2018.
“This is kinda going back to when the Pirates traded me,” Meadows said. “I understand the business side of it and how it works. You know, being traded this year, I’ve had a little experience being traded in the past and knowing how to handle it and stuff like that.
“I understand that they have a job to do. That job was to get rid of me to get somebody else, and that’s just the way it goes. That’s the way it goes in this business, there’s no hard feelings.… A lot of good relationships over there, lot of good friends over there. ”
Meadows’ stint on the IL means he won’t play in the series, though he will travel with the team.
“Doc has cleared him to fly, but he’s not cleared to play,” Hinch said after Sunday’s victory.
Meadows said before the game that he’s looking forward to seeing some of his friends on the Rays, including 2019 American League All-Star Brandon Lowe, 2021 AL Rookie of the Year Randy Arozarena and outfielder Manuel Margot.
“There’s a list of guys that I have a lot of respect for, that I developed really good relationships with,” Meadows said. “It’s like a family there.”
Faedo returns to Florida
Another Tiger looking forward to his return to the Trop? Right-handed starter Alex Faedo.
The rookie is slated to make his third career start Monday night against the Rays. Meadows ‘and Reyes’ ailments opened up a spot for Faedo on the 26-player roster, though the Tigers had planned to add him regardless.
Faedo has a 3.60 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks over 10 innings with the Tigers, including Wednesday’s start in which he struck out seven A’s over five innings.
“Different team, different game plan,” Faedo said Sunday. “But I think at the same time, you can pick the good and the bad, that I made a lot better execution the second time than the first time, and I think if you’re executing, you’re obviously giving yourself a better chance. ”
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Despite his inexperience at the big-league level, Faedo is plenty familiar with the Rays ‘ballpark: The Tampa, Florida, native grew up attending Rays games before heading off to the University of Florida and becoming the Tigers’ first-round draft pick ( No. 18 overall) in 2017.
“Yeah, I grew up a Rays fan, and then transitioned to Tigers-only fan, then a baseball fan once I got over here,” Faedo said.
“I liked it because there was never any rainouts, and the weather’s pretty nice in (Tropicana Field). “You’re watching big-league baseball, so it’s always cool no matter where it is.”
The 26-year-old is also navigating a recovery from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in December 2020. The recovery and rehab sidelined him for all of the 2021 season. Faedo is still working on his secondary pitches; against the A’s, he picked up 10 swings-and-misses with his slider.
“I think every day is a little different,” he said. “I think you still get that for a long time. Somedays, it’s just like normal pitching before surgery. When you’re out there, it’s not always the same, so you just gotta make adjustments. I’ve thrown a lot of bullpens now, so I definitely don’t have any excuses not to be sharp with those (secondary) pitches. ”
Still, with Saturday’s hand injury to starter Michael Pineda, Faedo would seem to have a spot in the Tigers’ rotation going forward. So what’s Faedo’s plan against the Rays?
“Consistency, execution,” Faedo said. “Just keep trying to figure out my game and feel comfortable. Do what the scouting reports say and attack hitters and be able to pitch in the zone.”
Contact Ryan Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @theford. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.