Back in Tigers’ fold, Jeimer Candelario wants to keep the good times rolling

Detroit News

Boston — He wasn’t gone that long, but in some ways Jeimer Candelario had to feel like he was walking into a completely different clubhouse Monday.

“Just the vibe,” he said. “Things are starting to go our way.”

Candelario, out since June 6 with a left shoulder subluxation, made the short drive from Worcester, Massachusetts, where he’d played four rehab games with Triple-A Toledo, and was back in the Tigers’ starting lineup against the Red Sox.

“God’s plan is perfect,” Candelario said. “I just want to be healthy and help the team win and I want to contribute to wins like they’re doing right now. I was so excited for these guys. I was over there cheering for my guys. Just happy to be back here.”

The Tigers were struggling to score runs for most of Candelario’s time on the injured list, but they bounced back over the weekend, scoring 21 runs the last two days against Texas.

“Guys were having quality at-bats, guys were hitting the ball on the barrel and balls were going out of the ballpark,” Candelario said. “When guys were in scoring position, we had guys getting the job done. That’s what we knew we could do and that’s what we’re doing now.

“I want to be a part of that and continue to do that.”

Candelario went 6 for 16 at Toledo with two doubles and a home run. He had been on a 1 for 20 skid before he was injured making a diving attempt on a ball hit by the Yankees’ Josh Donaldson.

“I think just being able to decompress was key for him,” manager AJ Hinch said. “Like a lot of guys on our team, having gone through some struggles, just getting away from the day-to-day was beneficial for him. He hit the ball a little harder and he saw some pitches without the stress of hitting in the middle of the order and playing every day at the Major League level.

“Sometimes that might be the simplest solve.”

The injury bothered him most when he hit from the right side. He was finally able to get some right-handed swings last weekend which allowed him to be cleared.

“The most important thing was getting right, getting my shoulder the right way,” Candelario said. “Just getting healthy, getting stronger, that’s what we wanted. Now we go from here. I feel good.”

Where’s Willi fit?

With Candelario back at third, Hinch will have to find a different spot on the field for utility man Harold Castro, who had made 10 starts at third base in Candelario’s absence.

Also, with Riley Greene settling in as the everyday center fielder, Willi Castro’s at-bats could be limited moving forward.

“Willi will start in right field on Tuesday,” Hinch said. “It won’t be that different as the roster stands today. But when Austin Meadows comes back, it’ll be more complicated for Willi. He’s still taking ground balls in the infield but everyday at-bats may not be there for Willi or Victor Reyes. I will try to match them up correctly to their strengths.

“But it’s going to get competitive.”

Meadows is still dealing with COVID symptoms.

Tigers trade outfielder

Before the game, the Tigers traded minor-league outfielder Trayce Thompson to the Dodgers for cash considerations.

Thompson, 31, had his best season in the big leagues with the Dodgers, hitting 13 homers in 2016. He bounced around to four different teams before signing a minor-league deal with the Tigers last month. Between Toledo and El Paso (Padres) this season, he’s hit 17 home runs with an OPS of 1.086.

The Dodgers needed immediate outfield help after putting Mookie Betts on the injured list and with no clear path to the big leagues with the Tigers, Thompson was going to exercise the opt-out in his deal with the Tigers.

Presently, the Mud Hens outfield consists of Derek Hill, Akil Baddoo and Jacob Robson. Daz Cameron, who is on COVID-IL, is expected to join the Mud Hens soon. He has had two straight negative tests and has resumed baseball workouts.

And once Meadows returns, the Tigers likely will send another outfielder back to Toledo, whether it is Kody Clemens or Willi Castro.

Around the horn

Infielder Zack Short came down to Boston from Worcester with Candelario and was with the Tigers before the game. He is serving on the taxi squad Monday and Tuesday as insurance in case Harold Castro has any lingering issues after getting hit in the leg with a pitch Sunday. Castro went through a full pregame workout and said he was good to go.

… A large group of Tigers went inside the Green Monster before the game and signed their names on the wall. Greene, Spencer Torkelson, Clemens, Will Vest, Jason Foley and Rony Garcia all found space back there to scrawl their names on the famous wall. Although nobody could find it, Hinch’s signature was there somewhere. He signed it in 1998. Fenway Park was the first road trip he made in his playing career.

Tigers at Red Sox

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Fenway Park, Boston

TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM

Scouting report

RHP Beau Brieske (1-5, 3.79), Tigers: Where would the Tigers’ rotation be without Brieske’s sooner-than-expected emergence? In three June starts he’s allowed two runs in 18.2 innings with 15 strikeouts and three walks. Opponents are slashing .194/.229/.299 in those starts. The June success came at the same time he regained his feel for and command of his slider.

LHP Rich Hill (2-4, 4.42), Red Sox: Brieske was 7 when Hill debuted with the Cubs in 2005. Eighteen years later, they are locking horns at Fenway. Tribute to Hill’s perseverance. He’s averaging less than five innings in his 12 starts. He throws nothing harder than 88 mph, but he spots that four-seamer expertly (holding hitters to a .236 average with 22 strikeouts.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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