On Saturday, the Detroit Tigers announced that they have placed shortstop Javier Baez on the 10-day injured list, retroactive from April 13th. It means he will be out for the entire home series against the New York Yankees and will likely miss the upcoming series against the Colorado Rockies as well.
“He’s still really sore,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said just hours before the shortstop was placed on the IL, via The Detroit News. “I don’t see how he plays (Sunday) and with the off day (Monday), it’s almost too enticing to give him a full, full rest. But we have to make a decision fairly quickly on how far this is going to go and whether he’s going to be available for the Yankees series.
“If he’s not going to be available for the Yankees series we have to consider a roster move.”
Prior to the announcement on Saturday, he had missed three consecutive games due to swelling in his right thumb. While Baez would love to be available for the homestand against the Yankees and the Rockies, the season is just getting started and the Tigers need him healthy throughout the duration of it.
“Javy always wants to play,” Hinch continued. “That’s not a question. He’s not asking out of the lineup. He’s unavailable. The more sore he is the more it gives me pause to put him back in there. It takes one swing to blow it back up to where we were four or five days ago. It’s really tricky with a thumb injury.”
Infielder Willi Castro was pulled from the Toledo Mud Hens lineup before their game Sunday in Iowa to replace Baez with the big-league club. The 24-year-old has been with the club since 2018, when the Tigers completed a trade with Cleveland in order to acquire him. Since being traded to Detroit, he has split time between Tripe-A Toledo and the Tigers.
“Every day we wait we’re going to lose going forward,” Hinch responded when asked about the timing of the decision. “You can only go back three days (the retroactive start date of the IL stint). If we wanted to make it retroactive to Wednesday so he can potentially come back Saturday (April 23 vs. Rockies), we needed to make the decision today.
“The faster we did it, the faster we can get it back — if it’s as short-term as we think.”
The Tigers are looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, after missing the postseason for the last seven consecutive years. They finished last season with a 77-85 record, which put them third in the American League Central division. They know they will need to be much better this year if they are going to have any chance of getting back to the postseason and are hoping to get off to a stronger start to the campaign.
Losing Baez certainly won’t help the team’s chances, but they are being proactive with the injury as they believe it isn’t anything too serious.