DETROIT — Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez is back in action and will play Sunday for the first time since April 12.
The Tigers activated Baez from the injured list 10 days before Sunday’s game. To create a spot on the roster, they offered right-handed reliever Jason Foley to Triple-A Toledo.
Baez will be third at bat in Sunday’s series finale against the Colorado Rockies at Comerica Park. Miguel Cabrera, who played both games in Saturday’s doubleheader, will have the day off.
The Tigers placed Baez on the 10-day disabled list with a swollen right thumb on April 16, retroactive to April 13, meaning he was eligible to be activated on Saturday. But the Tigers gave him an extra day to check that the swelling had gone down.
“The only unknown right now is how he’s going to react in-game,” Hinch said. “I think adrenaline is going to take some of the pain and some of the swelling. It’s not completely resolved. He’s going to have to play through it.
Baez said he got his right thumb stuck in the scrum that accompanied the delayed celebration after his hit a week ago in Detroit.
Baez didn’t miss a moment initially, but a few days later he aggravated the injury while at home plate. Baez said X-rays revealed no broken bones or other serious issues.
Baez, 29, signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Tigers this offseason.
He was central to the Tigers’ first two wins this season, including a hit and a home run.
Overall, Baez is hitting .316 (6 for 19) with a double, a home run and 4 RBIs in 2022. He has four strikeouts and a walk.
Harold Castro and Willi Castro split time at shortstop while Baez was out of action.
Willi Castro was expected to return to Toledo once Baez returns. Instead, the Tigers opted to send Foley, a 26-year-old who made his MLB debut last season.
In five appearances this year, Foley has a 3.18 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. He faced 24 batters but didn’t walk or strike out any of them, which is unusual.
Hinch said Foley was sent to get more work, improve against southpaws and continue to develop. Hinch said Foley did nothing wrong, but as the roster gets better and smaller, there will be tough decisions to make.
“It’s not a knock on him at all. It’s a tough bullpen to build and keep,” Hinch said.
The Tigers will have another roster change to make soon when left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin is ready to come off the injured list. Chafin has thrown rehab outings at Class A Lakeland and is expected to kick off Sunday for Triple-A Toledo.
Hinch said Chafin would be activated on Tuesday.
LIST OF 40 TIGERS PEOPLE (40)
Players in bold are on the list of 28 players
left-handed pitchers (6): Tyler AlexanderAndre Chafin*, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tarik Skubal, Gregory SotoJoey Wentz.
Right-handed pitchers (16): Jacob Barnes, Beautiful BrieskeAngel De Jesus, Alex Faedo, Jason Foley, Michael Fulmer, Rony Garcia, Drew Hutchison, Joe Jimenez, Alex LangeMatt Manning*, Casey Mize*, Wily Peralta, Michael PinedaElvin Rodriguez, Will Vest.
Catchers (3): Tucker Barnhart, Dustin Garneau, Eric Hase.
Inner fields (9): Javier Baez, Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, Harold Castro, Willi CastroKody Clemens, Jonathan SchoopZack runs, Spencer Torkelson.
Voltigeurs (6): Akil BaddooDaz Cameron, Robbie Grosman, Derek Hill, Austin MeadowsVictor Reyès*.
* On the 10-day disabled list.
Receiver Jake Rogers (sprained right elbow); and right-handed pitchers Jose Cisnero (sprained right shoulder), Kyle Funkhouser (sprained right shoulder) and Spencer Turnbull (sprained right elbow) are on the 60-day injured list, removing them from the list of 40 men.