Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been in contract with Tigers GM Al Avila, manager A.J. Hinch, and pitching coach Chris Fetter in recent days, and Avila and Hinch told reporters (including MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery) that plans are in motion for Rodriguez’s return. The hurler has already started a throwing program and is then slated to work out at the Tigers’ spring facility in Lakeland before embarking on some minor league rehab starts.
As Hinch put it, Rodriguez “has to go through another Spring Training” given all of his missed time, and thus the organization will take a “methodical” approach. For now, Rodriguez is being targeted for a late-August return to Detroit, Avila said. Rodriguez last pitched for the Tigers on May 18, as he spent close to a month on the injured list due to a ribcage strain before he was placed on the restricted list on June 13 due to unspecified personal matters.
The situation took a somewhat mysterious turn earlier this month when Avila and Hinch said they hadn’t heard from Rodriguez, and that the left-hander hadn’t been responding to the team’s overtures. However, Avila said today that “he expressed to me that he’s working hard, his personal situations are being taken care of and at some point he’ll be over that. He’s looking forward to re-joining the team and helping us win.”
The Tigers signed Rodriguez to a five-year, $77MM free agent in November, one of several major transactions made by a Detroit club that felt it was ready to end its rebuild. Unfortunately, the Tigers have stumbled to a 38-56 record, due to both a near-total lack of hitting and several injuries to the rotation. Rodriguez also got off to a slow start (4.38 ERA in 39 innings) before hitting the injured list, and his status on the restricted list has added an unusual twist on a lost season in the Motor City.
Rodriguez’s absence has come at a significant financial price, as he hasn’t been paid during his time on the restricted list. Assuming he does get activated in late August as planned, the southpaw will have lost roughly $5.5MM of his $14MM salary for the 2022 season.