Parker Meadows' promising Tigers return already derailed by another troubling injury

Detroit Tigers v Cincinnati Reds
Detroit Tigers v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

When Parker Meadows was sent down to Triple-A in early May, it was generally understood that the move was mostly to rehabilitate — not from injury, but to rediscover his lost swing (he was batting under .100 by the time he was optioned). All indications were he'd be back as soon as he could make the necessary adjustments and show that any success in Toledo had a chance of translating to the majors with the Tigers.

He spent nearly two months with the Mud Hens and batted .298 with a .905 OPS, 10 doubles, three triples, eight homers, and 24 RBI. He did make adjustments to his plate approach and was rewarded with a call back up over Fourth of July weekend, when the Tigers went to Cincinnati to close out their 10-game stretch on the road.

And he showed that his minor league progress was translatable to the bigs when he yanked a 410 foot home run to right field in his first at-bat. The next day, he got two more hits (a single and a double) and his success continued into the series closer, when he walked and stole a base in his first plate appearance and drove in a run in the eighth.

However, as he tried to add another stolen base to the scorecard that evening, he was not only caught by a nice stretch from Santiago Espinal, but he stayed sitting at second, holding his right leg before eventually being accompanied off the field by trainers.

Tigers youngster Parker Meadows exited Sunday's game with an apparent hamstring injury after being caught stealing

Meadows hasn't officially hit the IL yet, so fans can still be hopeful that it was just a tweak and he just needed to sit and rest up before the Tigers head back home to Detroit for four games against the Guardians. However, if this does warrant even a short IL stint, it'll be absolutely painful to watch a player who really looked like he was showing signs of progress get stymied right as a nice offensive run was just getting started.

Akil Baddoo was sent back down to Triple-A in lieu of Meadows' return, and the last thing fans want is to see him head back up from Toledo after batting .132 since he took over Meadows' usual spot in the Triple-A outfield.

Among all of the Tigers' highly touted young players, Meadows was perhaps the least hyped to begin the year in the face of Riley Greene's return and Colt Keith's extension, but that's not an insult. His September showed us plenty to be thankful for and intrigued by.

Despite his under-the-radar status, losing him in May threw a wrench into Detroit's plans, and watching him disappear again to an injury so soon after it looked like he could actually help the team's wilting offensive production would put the Tigers right back where they've been for the past month.