The Detroit The 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 had been on the restricted list — and unpaid — since June 13, when he informed the Tigers he would not be rejoining the team following a dominant rehab assignment June 9 to Triple-A Toledo.
“As far as I know, there’s been no movement 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 go with what we know, and right now, that’s the team 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 on May 22, retroactive to May 19, with a left side injury and started a rehab game for the Mud Hens. In that stretch, Rodriguez pitched four scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
“We want them 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 take into account until we know exactly what’s at hand. We’ll wait for him to open when he wants to.”
The roster is moving
Before the start of Friday’s series against Kansas City Royals, the Tigers activated right-hander Michael Pineda from the injured list. He broke his right middle finger on 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 be 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 playing in his first season after Tommy John surgery in January 2021.
“We’re trying to extend Alex’s season coming off Tommy John,” Hinch said. “We’re asking a lot of him, so the more extra rest we can give him, the better.”
The Tigers have four pitchers in the starting rotation despite Friday starting a 19-game hitting streak in 17 days before the All-Star break: Pineda (Friday), Beau Brieske (Saturday), Tarik Skubal (Sunday) and Rony García (Monday ).
“We’re going to have to add to our rotation to get to five starters,” Hinch said. “We’ll talk about Tuesday later.”
Schedule 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 delayed his plan to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo this week.
The 27-year-old had already been on the injured list since June 17 after testing positive for COVID-19. Meadows hasn’t pitched for the Tigers since June 15.
“I think it just came with going back to the baseball stuff, with shoes and spikes and running,” Hinch said. “He said it’s no big deal. . . . I don’t know how this whole thing happens. It wasn’t necessarily serious injuries. I think it was just inflammation that any of us would get if we started a running program after It wasn’t alarming, except that stopped progress to return.”
Meadows will be treated by the Tigers medical staff in the coming days in hopes of resuming baseball activities. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Toledo.
The organization expects Meadows to rejoin the Tigers at some point during the upcoming road trip, which includes series against Chicago White Sox (July 7-10), Royals (July 11-13) and Guardians (July 14-17).
“We’ll want to make sure he’s physically fit, but I expect he’ll play on the trip at some point,” Hinch said. “Probably not this house, but maybe on the first part of the trip.”
Meadows also went on the injured list on May 16 with vertigo symptoms and did not return until June 7. He is hitting .250 with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts in 36 games this season.
Lakeland injury update
• Right-hander Matt Manning, stationed in Lakeland, Fla., played at 150 feet as part of the throwing program. The 24-year-old is scheduled to come off the mound soon. He has been on the injured list since April 17 with right shoulder inflammation.
• Right reliever José Cisnero, also at Lakeland, has not pitched for the Tigers this season, but that will 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 the 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 on the mend in Lakeland, has played catch up to 150 feet. The Tigers believe the 28-year-old will be off the mound within the next week, but are cautiously approaching the pitching schedule. He has missed the entire season with a strained right shoulder, which he first suffered before the MLB lockout ended in March.
“It was very slow on purpose because we can’t afford another failure,” Hinch said. “If we have another setback, he’ll be out for the year. We’ve been steadily building his tolerance on the long throw, and if all goes well on the mound, then we’ll put together a spring training schedule for him. I certainly don’t see that in the month of July, so we’re still a month away, even if things were perfect considering all the bullpens, live BPs, and rehab assignments. We’re still a long way from him being an option, but I like the fact that he’s fighting through rehab and responding well.”
Drew Hutchison is back
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 deal in the minors.
The 31-year-old has been designated for assignment twice this season, most recently on 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 here,” Hinch said. “I’m glad he’s back. He had other opportunities that he could have chosen to go in different ways. He’s continued to stay loyal and come back, knowing that this is a good place for him. We laid out our plans for what we think is his path back here, and obviously bought.’
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This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers, Eduardo Rodriguez had ‘no communication’