Detroit Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez completed four scoreless innings for Triple-A Toledo on Thursday in his first rehab assignment.
Despite Rodriguez’s success, the Tigers haven’t determined if he needs another rehab start with the Mud Hens. The 29-year-old has been on the injured list since May 22, retroactive to May 19, with a left ribcage sprain.
“Is he built up enough to pitch against the Chicago White Sox?” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We got to determine that in the next four of five days. Luckily, with a pitcher, we have time to make that decision.”
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Rodriguez allowed two hits vs. the Iowa Cubs. Leadoff hitter Dixon Machado, a former Tiger, opened with a single, but Rodriguez struck out the next three batters.
Rodriguez posted nine strikeouts without a walk, throwing 39 of 52 pitches for strikes. The Tigers planned to let him pitch three innings, but because of his efficiency, he earned a fourth inning.
“The results were incredibly impressive,” Hinch said. “The strikeout numbers, the velocity was good. … He felt good. It was an encouraging step in the right direction with no pain, no issues, no apprehensiveness. Just a dominant first outing as a rehab.”
Rodriguez took a 4.38 ERA to the injured list, along with 17 walks and 34 strikeouts over 39 innings in eight starts. He exited his May 18 start against the Tampa Bay Rays with one out in the first inning.
The Tigers signed Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million contract in November 2021.
Daz Cameron out, Robbie Grossman in
Just as outfielder Daz Cameron began to find his stride, the Tigers sent him to the injured list ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.
Cameron, 25, came in close contact with someone known to have tested positive for COVID-19, and due to MLB protocols, he must stay away from the team for a minimum of five days.
“He’s fine, he’s healthy,” Hinch said. “But he’ll be out.”
To fill Cameron’s roster spot, the Tigers reinstated outfielder Robbie Grossman from the injured list. Before Friday, the 32-year-old hadn’t played for the Tigers since May 29, when he left the game in the third inning due to a neck strain.
Returning to the lineup, Grossman started in left field and hit leadoff in the batting order against Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos, a teammate of Grossman’s from 2016-18 with the Minnesota Twins.
“I feel good,” Grossman said. “I have no issues with the body. … I dealt with a couple things all year. I feel good and I’m ready to go.”
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Over his past seven games, Cameron hit .333 (8-for-24) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, six RBIs, zero walks and eight strikeouts. He added one stolen base.
Cameron, hitting .232 in 18 games, guided the Tigers to Wednesday’s 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. He delivered a pair of two-strike extra-base hits — a triple in the second inning and a double in the ninth — for a two-RBI performance.
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Grossman’s recovery from his neck strain included a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo. The switch-hitter crushed a home run to right field in his first plate appearance but finished 1-for-7 (.143) with one walk and two strikeouts.
He hasn’t hit a home run in the big leagues in 2022, despite launching a career-high 23 homers last season. For the Tigers, Grossman is hitting .199 with six extra-base hits, 21 walks and 51 strikeouts in 42 games.
“We know he’s a better player than the production that he was giving us at the beginning,” Hinch said. “He knows that, and we know that. Maybe it was a little bit of a reset, but being healthy is the No. 1 key for him. Having a good at-bat at the top of the order is going to be important for him to stay there.”
Franklin Perez starts rehab assignment
Right-hander Franklin Perez, a former top prospect from the 2017 Justin Verlander trade, started his rehab assignment Friday in the Florida Complex League. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on one hit and four walks with three strikeouts in 2⅓ innings.
Perez has thrown 29⅓ innings since joining the Tigers’ organization.
He underwent right shoulder surgery in May 2021.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ Eduardo Rodriguez dominates in rehab start