The Tigers announced a quartet of roster moves in advance of this afternoon’s game with the Blue Jays. Outfielder Riley Greene was activated from the 15-day injured list and right-hander Beau Brieske was activated from the 60-day IL, while Jonathan Schoop was designated for assignment (as reported yesterday) and Alex Faedo was optioned to Triple-A.
Greene suffered a stress reaction in his left fibula in late May, interrupting what had been a breakout season for the 22-year-old. Greene was hitting .296/.362/.443 with five home runs and six stolen bases (in six chances) over his first 224 plate appearances. While his 28.6% strikeout rate is still high, Greene’s 9.4% walk rate is above the league average, and he is making a lot of hard contact. A huge .410 BABIP does hint that some regression is inevitable, yet Greene’s combination of solid contact and excellent speed makes him a candidate for better batted-ball results anyway.
Selected fifth overall in the 2019 draft, Greene is a key figure of the Tigers’ rebuild, especially given how the team is hurting so badly for any offensive production. If Greene can pick up where he left off, Detroit might be able to get a bit closer to contention before the trade deadline, and the Tigers might be able to avoid another deadline selloff. Despite the club’s 38-49 record, the relative weakness of the AL Central has kept Detroit on the fringes of the playoff race, as the Tigers are only six games back of the first-place Twins.
Brieske’s return will also help a pitching staff that has been hit hard by injuries for the second consecutive season. Due to a right ulnar nerve entrapment that arose during Spring Training, Brieske has yet to pitch in 2023. The righty posted a respectable 4.19 ERA over 81 2/3 innings in his 2022 rookie season, though he didn’t pitch after July 12 due to a forearm strain. Brieske worked as a starter last year, but he has been used only as a reliever in the minors this season, perhaps as a way to slowly rebuild his arm strength after the long layoff.
Detroit might prefer Brieske as a multi-inning relief weapon if enough healthy options can be otherwise found for the starting five, but otherwise, it seems likely that Brieske will get some starts at some point. An opening in the rotation might already be available with Faedo optioned, and Detroit’s staff could look quite different if the team does trade away some notable veterans (i.e. Eduardo Rodriguez or Michael Lorenzen) at the deadline.