Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene begins the year on the injured list.
Detroit Tigers fans will have to wait a bit longer than they hoped to see their prized young outfielder Riley Greene. Greene limped into the dugout during Friday’s spring training game against the New York Yankees, and on Saturday morning Detroit News writer Chris McCosky confirmed the bad news:
Perhaps the biggest questions surrounding the team this spring were whether Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson would make Detroit’s Opening Day roster. Riley Greene seemed to have answered that question definitively, with terrific results at the plate, and one spectacular highlight-reel catch in the outfield.
He only seemed to make his case stronger on Friday with an excellent at-bat against Gerrit Cole, one of the best pitchers in baseball. Greene fell behind Cole 1-2, then fouled off two tough pitches before crushing a changeup 404 feet for a triple.
But apparently one of those foul balls caused the fracture in his foot, and now Riley Greene is out for a while, and the Tigers are left scrambling to fill the void in center field. Below are some of their options:
Riley Greene Replacement Option1: Internal Candidates
This is the most probable scenario. It doesn’t help that Derek Hill is also injured again, but the Detroit Tigers do have some bodies. Victor Reyes was having an adequate spring training, but now he essentially makes the team by default.
This is where the versatility of Eric Haase and the dependability of Dustin Garneau pay off for the Tigers, as Haase will probably get the plurality of playing time in left field, with Akil Baddoo moving to center field for most games. And both Harold Castro and Willi Castro have experience in the outfield.
There are also some options in the minor leagues should an emergency arise. Daz Cameron is running out of time to prove he’s a big leaguer, but this might be a blessing in disguise for him. Kody Clemens played a little outfield for the Toledo Mud Hens last year, and he could be called on to try it in Detroit.
Detroit could also go off their 40-man roster to look for help, should they choose. Jack López has been hitting well in spring training, and he has experience all over the field, while Jacob Robson was called up last year, and could be added to the 40-man roster again. Josh Lester is mostly a corner infielder, but he saw time in the outfield last year, and Eric De La Rosa doesn’t have a hit in spring training, but he’s been given a decent amount of playing time, so the organization seems to like him.
But, if the Detroit Tigers truly want to contend this year, they may need to look elsewhere to replace Riley Greene.