ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers made roster moves Sunday morning with 13 games remaining, sparked by a pair of season-ending injuries.
Left-handed reliever Gregory Soto, the Tigers’ All-Star and unofficial closer in 2021, will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ring finger on his pitching hand. He suffered the injury Friday, getting hit by a comebacker in the ninth inning. Outfielder Derek Hill is also done for the season. He sustained a left knee sprain in Saturday’s fifth inning.
Both players were placed on the 10-day injured list before Sunday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
“Originally we looked at the hand, which is where he said he got hit,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said about Soto’s injury. “You could see where the ball hit his hand, and there was no fracture. He came out the next day (Saturday), and when he played catch, he complained of some significant swelling in the tip of his finger. That led to more tests on the finger, not the hand, and revealed the fracture.”
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The Tigers are sending Soto, who has his finger in a splint, to a hand specialist. Although “it’s not an alarming fracture,” Hinch said, the tip of Soto’s ring finger isn’t expected to heal for at least 10-14 days.
The regular season ends Oct. 3.
“I don’t know why we would risk anything until that completely heals,” Hinch said. “I would expect that to be the end of the year for him.”
The 26-year-old finished his third MLB season with a 3.39 ERA with 40 walks and 76 strikeouts over 63⅔ innings in 62 appearances, earning 18 saves in 19 opportunities. He previously logged a 5.77 ERA over 33 games (seven starts) in 2019 and a 4.30 ERA across 27 relief outings in 2020.
Hill hit .259 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 walks and 42 strikeouts over 49 games, along with providing elite defense in center field. The 25-year-old rookie landed on the injured list three times this season: June 10 with a right shoulder sprain, Aug. 11 with a left ribcage contusion and Sunday with a left knee sprain.
Boyd seeks second opinion
Left-handed starter Matthew Boyd is scheduled to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Monday or Tuesday for another opinion on his “reoccurring elbow soreness,” which sent him back to the injured list Sept. 11 with a left elbow strain. He visited Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas last week.
The Tigers expect to know if Boyd will need surgery following the appointment.
“Once that’s done, which I think will be early this week, we’ll have a definitive plan for him and even a diagnosis and what’s next for him,” Hinch said. “I haven’t personally talked to Matty, but I know he went home (to Seattle) for a couple days and then he’s going to see Dr. ElAttrache.”
Boyd, 30, ended the season with a 3.89 ERA with 23 walks and 67 strikeouts over 78⅔ innings over 15 starts.
Paredes, Cameron return
The Tigers want to get another look at Paredes — who has only played 14 games in MLB this season and 48 over his two-year career — before entering what is expected to be a busy offseason. Likewise, Cameron has competed in just 25 games this year and 42 across his two-year career in the majors.
“I just want them to play and play well when they get the opportunity,” Hinch said. “The evaluation period is not about the last two weeks. … We’re not going make any conclusions anytime soon. They are a part of what we’re building.
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“They want to make an impression and we want them to play well, but hopefully they don’t put so much emphasis on these last 12-13 days that they vapor lock and try to do too much. It’s key to just relax, play your game and let the evaluations happen when they need to.”
Paredes earned his return by showcasing plate discipline in Triple-A Toledo, hitting .265 with 12 home runs, 44 RBIs, 59 walks and 50 strikeouts over 72 games this season. He has a .256 batting average with one homer, four RBIs, six walks and five strikeouts in 14 games for the Tigers.
The 22-year-old bounced between the Tigers and Mud Hens three times before suffering a right hip strain July 19 and landing on the injured list. He wasn’t back to full health until Aug. 18, so the Tigers optioned him to the minor leagues.
Following his demotion, Paredes hit .284 with six home runs, 17 RBIs, 28 walks and 17 strikeouts in 25 games for Toledo.
“We’ve seen progress out of both of them,” Hinch said. “I am excited that Paredes gets back up here. He’s done everything we’ve asked in the minors. Daz did that when he went down. When I put them in (the lineup), give me what you got, and when you’re not, then support your guys, be on the team and see where it takes them.”
Cameron, 24, has served as a leader during his 39 games for the Mud Hens, posting a .296 batting average with six home runs, 23 RBIs, 15 walks and 39 strikeouts. For the Tigers, he has hit .177 with three homers, 11 RBIs, five walks and 25 strikeouts in 25 games.
The Tigers demoted Cameron to Toledo on Aug. 29 to “get his swing going in the right direction.” Two injuries — a fractured right wrist in May and a right toe sprain in July — have cost him on-field opportunities.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.