Pittsburgh — For a couple of days there, it seemed possible that we might not see Austin Meadows again this season. The medical information being passed down was vague at best and, frankly, ominous.
“I don’t know when he will be back,” manager AJ Hinch said at one point.
So it came as a bit of a relief to see him walk through the visitors clubhouse Tuesday, all smiles, his name written in the No. 5 spot in Hinch’s lineup.
“It was definitely scary,” Meadows said. “But I am glad to be back on the mend. Glad to be back.”
Meadows started to feel sick during the home series against Oakland in the second week of May. He reported it as sinus and flu-like symptoms. He sat out two games against the Orioles and then tried to play on May 15. He lasted one at-bat.
“Yeah, it started with a sinus infection and then turned into dizziness and vertigo,” he said, saying the dizziness was constant, whether he was seated, standing or moving around. “It was just a weird thing and time was really the only way to heal this.”
He traveled with the club to Tampa, which is where he makes his home. He stayed there and rested for a full week before beginning light baseball activities in Lakeland. Finally, last week he was able to get into a few rehab games with Triple-A Toledo.
“I was worried about what was going on and when this was going to end,” Meadows said. “It was one of those things that affects every moment of every day. Finally, we were able to take control of it and put it behind us.”
But because this is 2022 and this is the Tigers, Meadows’ return comes with a corresponding addition to the injured list.
“I would really like to activate guys off the IL and not put someone on the IL,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We get Meadows back and we lose Candy. It dampens the enthusiasm a little bit.”
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario was placed on the injured list with left shoulder subluxation. He felt the shoulder joint pop out and then pop back in when he hit the ground after making a diving attempt at a line drive Sunday in New York.
Neither Candelario nor Hinch believe Candelario will miss more than the required 10 days.
“It really is good to have Meadows back,” Hinch said. “It changes our lineup, just his presence and the at-bat quality. Plus, he’s a true outfielder. He makes us better.”
Hinch said there would be no restrictions on Meadows.
“The rest really helped, but I think it’s behind us, we’ve put it behind us,” Meadows said. “We kind of know now that if it does come on again — and hopefully it won’t — we know the strategies behind it and we will be able to deal with it and keep playing and not miss significant time.”
Mize shut down, again
Things are trending in a bad direction for Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize. Hinch announced Tuesday his throwing program has been shut down.
“He continues to feel less than 100% when he’s throwing (on flat ground) from 90 feet and out,” Hinch said. “We have shut him down and he’s going to see another doctor.”
Mize has been out since April 15 with a right elbow sprain. He progressed enough to make a rehab start with Toledo on May 12. He felt discomfort during the outing and was shut down then. He had just started throwing again 10 days ago, but the discomfort is still there.
“It’s been very slow and frustrating for him,” Hinch said.
To this point, there has been no mention of this requiring surgery. But that he is still getting more doctors’ opinions is not encouraging.
Around the horn
Starting pitcher Matt Manning (shoulder inflammation) saw a specialist on Monday and was cleared to resume his throwing program. But Hinch indicated he would probably get a cortisone shot first, which would delay his throwing a day or two.
… Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (ribcage) is scheduled to make a rehab start with Toledo on Thursday.
… Reliever Jose Cisnero (shoulder) will begin a rehab stint with Toledo on Wednesday.
… Reliever Tyler Alexander (elbow) and outfielders Robbie Grossman (neck) and Victor Reyes (quad) were all expected to play with the Mud Hens on Monday. Grossman is expected to be activated as early as Friday.
… Starting pitcher Michael Pineda (broken finger) threw a bullpen Tuesday, but threw only fastballs and change-ups. He is still unable to spin the ball.
Tigers at Pirates
► First pitch: 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, PNC Park, Pittsburgh
► TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM
► RHP Alex Faedo (1-2, 3.09), Tigers: Six big-league starts, six outings of two runs or less. He’s been a godsend for this rotation. Everything starts with his command – 64.7% first-pitch strike rate. When he gets ahead, he can work his slider and change-up around the edges and get soft contact. Here is the opponent slash-line with two strikes against Faedo — .194/.250/.258.
► RHP Mitch Keller (2-5, 5.77), Pirates: His struggles earned him a couple of weeks in the bullpen. In his last 20 innings he’s given up 13 walks and 14 runs. His best two pitches — a four-seam fastball (96) and slider – have been inconsistent, both in terms of command and results. This will be his second start since being reinstated in the rotation.