7 injured Detroit Tigers players whose returns could save Detroit's season

May 22, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Riley Greene (31) on base
May 22, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Riley Greene (31) on base / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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Akil Baddoo

This one requires a bit more squinting and hoping, but there is cause for optimism with Akil Baddoo. Before he hurt his quad in early June, he was coming off a month of May where he was a key cog in the offense that helped the Tigers to a winning record for the month. While his hit tool seems to come and go, he has always drawn walks at a high clip and is productive on the base paths when he reaches base.

Soft tissue injuries are notoriously tricky to put a timeline on and this is especially true of quad injuries. However, Baddoo seems to be on a similar rehab progression as Greene as he is already doing some baseball activities. We don't know anything for certain yet and there could always be setbacks, but a July return seems to be possible. If they get the version of Baddoo that was raking in May or even the 2021 version, he will be a very valuable addition.

Matt Manning

This could where the start of the reconstruction of the Tigers' rotation begins. Manning broke a bone in his foot after getting hit by a comebacker in April and was placed on the 60 day injured list. That designation meant he had to stay out until mid-June and he has been on track as he has made multiple rehab starts already.

Most indications are that Manning could make his return next week. Detroit's rotation has ranked in the bottom third of the league for most of the season, so getting a guy back that posted a 3.43 ERA in 12 starts last year should provide some welcome stability.

Eduardo Rodriguez

This is a bit of a weird one. Before he went down with a left finger injury, Eduardo Rodriguez had been one of the better performer pitchers in all of baseball with a 2.13 ERA in 11 starts. For a team that has already lost so much on the pitching side to injury, Rodriguez going down was particularly brutal.

There are a couple ways this could go because unlike the other names on this list, Rodriguez has been mentioned repeatedly as a guy that could be available to other teams at the trade deadline. If he returns reasonably quickly (he is throwing bullpens now), the team will have a tough decision to make. Either keep Rodriguez and hope they will get enough help to make a playoff push OR trade Rodriguez and look towards the future more. It is a legitimately tough call but either way it goes, Rodriguez getting healthy should help Detroit significantly.