DETROIT — Tigers left fielder Eduardo Rodriguez, whose start as a frontline starter was a crucial driver behind Detroit’s improvement over the past month, went on the 15-day injured list Tuesday with a sprained left ring finger. Tigers bounce season and possibly the trade market this summer is in a state of flux.
Rodriguez, who is 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA and a 0.975 WHIP through 11 starts, was injured on one of his final pitches on Sunday against the White Sox. Examination and MRI evaluations from several physicians revealed a rupture of the A4 pulley, which helps anchor the tendon to the bone around the tip of the finger. It is a more common injury among rock climbers and pitchers than pitchers, but the injury can affect pitchers as they release the ball from their fingertips. The most famous case in baseball is Randy Dupnak, who suffered a series of roller tears that shortened the 2021 season and sidelined him for most of ’22. One study last year reported that six Premier League players were injured. Put another usual schedule back in six weeks.
Rodriguez will rest for seven to 10 days before being re-evaluated for his throwing program, according to a Tigers injury report.
“It’s always hard to lose one of your best players,” head coach AJ Hinch said Tuesday afternoon after the news was announced. “But it’s one of five days. We’re still hoping this will be a quick comeback, but it is what it is.”
Rodriguez is on the second season of a five-year, $77 million contract he signed ahead of the 2022 season. While the deal has three years and $49 million remaining after this year, it also contains an opt-out clause that would allow Rodriguez to strike an agency. In search of a bigger contract in line with the big signings of last season. That, along with his strong start to the season, fueled speculation that the Tigers could listen to trade offers rather than risk losing him as a free agent. But the longer term damage is clearly going to affect this market.
While the Tigers have yet to announce plans to fill in for Rodriguez’s starting rotation, the most likely option is Reese Olson, the team’s No. 11 according to MLB Pipeline. While Olson has a 2-3 record and a 6.38 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Toledo this season, his first year in the minors top level, he’s turned the corner in his past three starts, allowing 2 runs in 10 strikeouts over 14 1 /3 innings with 22 strikeouts. He fanned 10 batters over five innings of one-run ball last Friday against Rochester. Olson is already on Detroit’s 40-man roster, so the Tigers simply have to call him up if they choose to field him in the rotation.
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