Phoenix — Outfielder Austin Meadows, out since June 17 after testing positive for COVID, has cleared protocol and is expected to start a rehab assignment next week.
“He’s going to report to Toledo,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He will do a couple of workouts and then probably start playing games on Tuesday.”
After missing three weeks with vertigo, Meadows played just seven games before testing positive. He’s only played in 36 games this season.
When Meadows is ready come back, a roster decision will have to be made to clear space.
“I hope we don’t lose one by gaining another,” Hinch said, referring to the recent stretch where the Tigers were replacing a player coming off the injured list with another going on it. “By the time Austin gets back I hope nothing happens to the rest of our outfielders.
“Even though we will have to make a decision that is tough.”
Hinch mentioned Kody Clemens, Willi Castro and Harold Castro who would be on that particular bubble.
Note on Manning
Hinch said the organization is hopeful right hander Matt Manning (shoulder inflammation) can start ramping up his throwing program soon and start building back toward a rehab stint.
He’s still in Lakeland throwing on flat ground up to 90 feet under the supervision of the Tigers director of pitching development Gabe Ribas.
“Ribas is with him to make sure with his mechanics he’s doing everything right,” Hinch said. “One of the issues has been, he’s very protective of his throwing. Some of that is psychological and he needs to get over that.
“He needs to trust it’s not going to hurt the inflammation.”
On the contract
Hinch’s contract with the Tigers has been bandied about in the media recently but he wasn’t going to take it any further.
Asked about it before the game, he said, “I never talk about it. Because it’s never been an issue to me. Attention was brought to it earlier in the season when there was nothing to talk about. I’m here to build a winner and be a part of this for a long time.
“I didn’t see why it was an issue when someone first mentioned it and I don’t see why it should be an issue now. I am the manager of the Tigers. They signed me for a long time. I feel good being here.”
Around the horn
… Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull and catcher Jake Rogers continue to rehab from Tommy John surgeries in Lakeland. Turnbull has been throwing, building back arm strength on flat ground. Rogers has been throwing and hitting. Hinch said the club was hopeful both can make it back at some point this season.