Tigers shutting down Kerry Carpenter might end all hope for 2024 season

Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Baseball injuries never ensure linear recoveries, but Kerry Carpenter's has been especially frustrating for Tigers fans because of how poorly the team is doing in his absence. Teams like the Dodgers can have hoards of injured players (and they do) and still find ways to win, but the Tigers have been slip, slip, sliding for a month now.

Of course, one man doesn't and can't make a baseball team, and there are players who have continued to be great for Detroit — Riley Greene, Tarik Skubal, even Matt Vierling is picking things up — but the rest have been mediocre or worse around them.

Carpenter's been missing since May 27. The issue was originally diagnosed as lumbar spine inflammation, but it was only symptomatic of a stress fracture that warranted a lot more time spent recovering. Specifically, it meant about a month of complete rest followed by a slow ramp up and a rehab assignment.

He was cleared for baseball activities on June 21, giving fans hope that after a month of no timeline updates, he might actually be making good progress to return.

But nope, that wasn't the case. On Tuesday, the Tigers announced that Carpenter had started feeling discomfort again and was back to resting.

Kerry Carpenter has been shut down from baseball activity again after a hiccup in his progression

What might make this even more frustrating is the fact that Javier Báez has been absent for less time with the same injury, and he just made his first rehab start in Triple-A on the same day Carpenter was shut down again, because the baseball gods can't let Tigers fans have good things.

Per FanGraphs, as of July 3, Carpenter is projected to play in only 45 more games this season, hit seven more home runs for 15 total this season, and knock in 29 more runs for a total of 55. His value to the team is even further revealed in the fact that those numbers are still higher than most of his teammates who will end up playing in more games this year.

Still, it's looking more and more likely that he won't be back on time to help the Tigers pick themselves up out of the hole they're currently digging for themselves. The only possible consolation left is that they couldn't possibly finish in last with the White Sox being as bad as they are, but even that is just the tiniest of mercies.