Detroit Tigers catcher Jake Rogers appears ready to return.
The Detroit Tigers are hoping that catcher Jake Rogers can return to the field as the 2023 season starts. He has been off the field for quite some time, and it appears that he is ready to return to the field again.
He has not had an at-bat since the 2021 season, but the Detroit Tigers still believe he's got the chance to stick with the big league club. At the minimum, he deserves his chance to show he is healthy once again.
The Tigers may not have all of their ducks in a row regarding the team's catching position for the 2023 season, but Rogers will try to be behind the dish at one point or another. It's been a long road for him on the recovery trail, but it sounds like he's ready to go.
According to a piece from Jason Beck of MLB dot com, Rogers is all the way back on his return path and will be at Spring Training. Rogers mentions that he is excited to compete again, get back in the box, and get behind the dish for the first time since the 2021 season.
He was nearing a return in 2022, but the organization thought it might have been too rushed. Instead, they played it safe and gave Rogers more time to recover and get healthy. He's a defense-first catcher whose calling card was his arm. Though there was some speculation on his ability post-surgery, Rogers is shutting it down.
He has said that he feels like he is back to normal, or back to the level he felt he was at before the surgery, making solid throws to second, on the money, and with good velocity. There's reason to believe that his arm strength will be good to go.
In 2021, Rogers hit .239/.306/.496 with five doubles, three triples, and six home runs for 17 RBI over 127 plate appearances. The bat has not lived up to the hype. He's a defense-first catcher, so the bat slacking is expected, but Rogers needs to come out swinging.
Spring Training will be a good chance for him to get his feet under himself once again as a big leaguer. But the Tigers will likely continue to play it safe with Rogers. Going into 2023, Rogers may land the backup role, but it seems like he will be given some time to get re-acclimated. He needs a strong return to stick with the Tigers long-term so patience as he gets back on track, might be warranted.
For that reason, I feel Rogers will start in Triple-A and works his way back to the big leagues slowly in 2023.