Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene may take Bryce Harper approach to recovery

Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene should take the Bryce Harper approach.
Detroit Tigers center fielder Riley Greene (31) watches the action against the Cleveland Guardians
Detroit Tigers center fielder Riley Greene (31) watches the action against the Cleveland Guardians / Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Tigers can learn a thing or two from the Phillies.

The Detroit Tigers got some real bummer news near the end of the 2023 season when Riley Greene had to undergo Tommy John Surgery. It's a lengthy recovery that could bring some changes to his performance for the 2024 season next Spring.

After making an exceptional diving catch, Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene had to exit a game this regular season, where he ended up needing to undergo some tests. He sustained an arm injury, and after an exploratory surgery, the doctors were able to go in and complete Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

The good news is, that's his glove-side arm. It won't affect his ability to throw from the outfield, but it will affect his ability to hit. The good news is that he should be able to get back on track quicker than most, given it was his non-throwing arm.

He underwent surgery in late September, and the team announced that they anticipate him being ready for the 2024 season. That being said, to risk any re-injury or anything going south, there are a few things that the Tigers can learn from the Phillies and how they handled things with Bryce Harper.

Harper had a similar injury in 2022, leading to him undergoing Tommy John surgery as well. He was able to get back on track and back on the field for the Phillies as he helped them get back to the NLCS in 2023 as one of the premier bats in all of baseball.

Harper played some first base and was the Phillies DH at times, helping ease him back into baseball activities and game action. They took their time but also wanted to get him back into the lineup as quickly as possible.

For Detroit, they may not be competing for a World Series in 2024, but no one wants to see Greene miss more time than he has to. Once he is good to go on baseball activities and can get back into games, it may be worth the safety net.

If A.J. Hinch wants to play it safe with the 23-year-old, they may want to pencil Greene in as the DH for a good chunk of games early on in the season. Just to take some stress off the arm, because, who are we kidding, Greene will run down any ball he can, whether it means a full Superman dive or not.

No one wants to see Greene re-injure himself, so giving him extra time to heal and shielding him in a DH role early on might be the ticket to getting him at-bats in the early part of 2024 to help him stay with the Tigers and stay in the swing of things, as much as he can.

Greene hit .288/.349/.447 with 19 doubles, four triples, and 11 home runs over 378 at-bats through 99 games played in 2023. The Tigers want big things from Greene moving forward, and taking the patient approach with him is the smart route.

He's one of the major puzzle pieces moving forward for Detroit, so keeping him healthy and allowing him to be back to 100% is a big deal.

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