The Tigers have selected the contract of infielder Renato Nunez, recalled infielder Zack Short from Triple-A Toledo and placed outfielders Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill on the injured list, per a club announcement. Baddoo is heading to the seven-day concussion list, while Hill has been placed on the 10-day IL with a ribcage contusion. Hill and Baddoo sustained their injuries on a frightening, full-speed collision at the wall in left-center field in yesterday’s win over the Orioles.
This will be the second big league stint of the season for Nunez, who hit .148/.207/.444 with a pair of homers in 29 plate appearances earlier in the year. The 27-year-old went unclaimed when Detroit placed him on waivers earlier in the year, and he accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Toledo, where he’s batted .291/.383/.585 (153 wRC+) with 20 home runs, 14 doubles and a pair of triples in 311 plate appearances.
The second big league stint could prove to be something of a longer-term audition for Nunez, who has a decent big league track record at the dish. From 2018-20, he posted a .250/.316/.457 batting line with 51 homers in 1076 plate appearances between Oakland and Baltimore. Nunez’s power production in Baltimore resulted in a good bit of surprise among fans when the O’s placed him on waivers prior to Dec. 2020’s non-tender deadline, but no team claimed the slugger, whose defensive limitations and sub-par on-base percentage have sapped some of the value that power brings to the table. That said, he’ll now get another run with the Tigers, who’ll have the option of controlling him all the way through 2024 if he impresses enough.
As for the 22-year-old Baddoo, the injury throws a wrench into his hopes for a late Rookie of the Year push. Baddoo was a surprising pick by the Tigers in the Rule 5 Draft, having missed most of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery and spending the 2020 season recovering. He hadn’t played at either the Double-A or the Triple-A levels, but he’s shown barely any signs of rust, hitting at a .267/.333/.467 pace with 10 home runs, 18 doubles, six triples and 14 stolen bases. He wasn’t necessarily a Rookie of the Year favorite, but Baddoo, Randy Arozarena, Luis Garcia and Cole Irvin are among the AL rookies who could’ve conceivably separated themselves with a big finish.
There’s no word on how long Baddoo will be sidelined, as it’s difficult to project recovery timetables for concussions and concussion-like symptoms. He’ll spend at least a week on the shelf, though, and he’ll automatically be moved to the 10-day IL if he’s not ready for reinstatement once 10 days have passed.
Hill, meanwhile, had been in line for his first real look in center field at the big league level. Through 87 plate appearances, the former first-rounder was batting .250/.345/.316 with a home run, a triple and six steals. As with Baddoo, there’s no projected timetable for his recovery. With Baddoo and Hill both joining Daz Cameron on the injured list, the Tigers will look to Robbie Grossman, Victor Reyes and perhaps Harold Castro or Nunez in the outfield.