Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows took to Twitter this afternoon to announce that he’s been away from the playing field attending to a mental health concern. Manager A.J. Hinch told reporters (including Evan Woodbery of MLive.com) that Meadows won’t return to the field this year.
“What I have told very few people is that I have been … struggling with my mental health in a way that has extended my time away from the game that I love so much,” Meadows wrote in his statement. “I’ve been dealing with this privately with a great team of professionals, but I need to continue to put in the hard work off the field towards feeling mentally healthy.
While I’ve been back in the clubhouse the past few weeks, and plan to remain with the club through the end of the season, I am still not ready to return to the field. I am so grateful for my family, my teammates, and the Tigers organization for supporting me through this. I can’t do this alone, and I hope in sharing my experience I can touch at least one person who might be going through their own struggles and encourage them to reach out to someone for help.”
Meadows has played in 36 MLB games this year, his first in Detroit after an early April trade from the Rays. He spent some time on the injured list in mid-May battling vertigo-like symptoms. He returned in June but quickly went back on the IL due to COVID-19. While attempting to recover from that illness, Meadows suffered strains of both his Achilles tendons. He was sent on a rehab assignment on August 10 but pulled off a few days later, with the team not disclosing details about his shutdown at the time.
Hinch praised Meadows for going public with news of his battle, saying it was the outfielder’s decision. “Austin has chosen the path to be proactive and help others while helping himself,” the manager said (via Cody Stavenhagen of the Athletic), adding his hope that today’s announcement will help others dealing with similar struggles. MLBTR sends our best wishes to Meadows.