Kerry Carpenter reveals potential Tigers timeline to return, but don't get too excited

Detroit fans are still going to have to wait a bit for Kerry Carpenter's triumphant return.
Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

When the Tigers lost Kerry Carpenter to the IL in late May, they lost their most intimidating bat in a lineup that ranks 22nd in FanGraphs' offensive rankings. In the 50 games before his departure, Carpenter hit eight home runs and drove in 29 batters, a number that Matt Vierling (with 30) and Mark Canha (tied with Carpenter) have only been able to match or just barely exceed with 14 and 15 extra games.

Carpenter led the Tigers in batting average and slugging at the time of his departure and continues to do so despite his absence, which points to a massive gap in Detroit's offensive capability that they haven't been able to make up for even with the presence of exciting prospects in Justyn-Henry Malloy and Wenceel Pérez.

The issue that took Carpenter down was lumbar spine inflammation, the cause of which was later identified as a stress fracture. He's been completely inactive from baseball activities since then as the Tigers have handled the issue carefully, so a timeline to return has been unclear.

However, the Tigers broke their silence with a general idea as to when Carpenter will be able to come back to the major league roster, but it's still much too early for anything certain just yet.

Kerry Carpenter, Tigers reveal a loose timeline to return from spinal injury

Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press reported that the fracture will require 3 1/2-4 weeks of rest, then a week and a half of baseball activities before being able to play games. It's likely that Carpenter would need to undergo a short rehab assignment before coming back to the team for good, placing a general estimate for a return to the majors in mid-July.

However, all of those estimations came with an important caveat: with Carpenter resting and completely inactive as of now, the Tigers still have no way to know how his body will respond when he's able to get back up and continue even low-impact activities.

It's a hopeful update after nearly a month missing Carpenter on the roster to anchor the lineup, but there's still a road ahead of him to return and the Tigers still need to figure out how to get bats going in the next month or so until he's reinstated to the roster.