TORONTO — Daz Cameron never would’ve imagined a foot into the fence during batting practice in Texas before the All-Star break would cost him a month and a half on the injured list, just like he didn’t expect an elbow injury last winter would not only end his winter-ball season, but delay his regular season in the States.
“It was kind of mind-boggling,” Cameron said Friday at Rogers Centre.
Now that he’s back, he has a chance to make an impression over the home stretch of the season and forge a place for himself in the outfield picture for next season. He plans on taking advantage, even if it means playing through lingering soreness in his sprained right toe.
“He has no restrictions,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He wouldn’t be active if he had a ton of restrictions. I’ll see how he’s moving around and make sure that everything’s fine on a day-to-day basis. I’m operating with the thought that he’s available, and if he’s the best matchup, I’ll play. If he’s not, then we’ll give him a rest day. But he’s going to play quite a bit.”
Though Cameron had cooled off a bit from his hot start, he was holding his own against the Major League pitching when the injury happened. The sprain lingered more than a month and still hasn’t completely gone away.
“There’s going to be soreness,” Cameron said, “but as far as it healing, it’s enough for me to go out there and perform. There’s times when some days it’s sore, but a toe injury is just like a jammed finger. It’s a lot better, though.”
Cameron had a six-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo to try to get his timing back at the plate. The Tigers activated him from the 10-day injured list on Thursday and started him in center field. He was back in the lineup Friday, and he spent part of his batting practice testing out the artificial turf on the field at Rogers Centre.
With Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill both injured, Cameron is the most athletic outfielder the Tigers currently have, though Hill is expected to return from the 10-day IL on Saturday. Baddoo, currently on a rehab assignment with Toledo, could return next week in St. Louis.
At that point, the Tigers could have the option of a young, speedy, athletic outfielder, or at least two such outfielders alongside veteran producer Robbie Grossman.
“These guys make it easy for me to get comfortable,” Cameron said. “Me, Akil, Grossman and Derek, we all have fun and kind of bounce energy off each other. I’m 100 percent more comfortable.”
The stretch run for all of them could be big for the Tigers to make decisions going into next season. While general manager Al Avila appears likely to look for infield help, he could have the ideal mix of outfielders for spacious Comerica Park.
SS prospect Peterson retires
Shortstop prospect Cole Peterson, 26, has been placed on the voluntarily retired list at Double-A Erie, ending for now his pro career after four seasons in the Tigers’ system.
Peterson, a 13th-round Draft pick in 2017 out of St. Bonaventure, made a quick impression with his plus-level defense. His range and glove work helped him rise to Triple-A Toledo in ’19. He spent most of this season with the Mud Hens, but batted .199 (34-for-171) with eight doubles, four triples and a .556 OPS in 58 games.
The Tigers transferred Peterson to Erie when they promoted Ryan Kreidler, the club’s No. 10 prospect, to Toledo to handle shortstop duties.