Detroit — Coming back off the long road trip, there was some housekeeping to do before the Tigers started a short homestand Friday night. To wit:
► Veteran right-hander Michael Pineda was activated off the injured list and would, rain permitting, make his first start Friday since breaking a finger on his pitching hand on May 15.
► Rookie right-hander Alex Faedo was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Pineda. Faedo won’t be gone long, though. He is tentatively scheduled to be the 27th man and start a game in each of the upcoming doubleheaders (Monday against Cleveland and the following Monday in Kansas City).
► Left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez remains on the restricted list and there has been little communication between him and the club.
► Outfielder Austin Meadows, on the injured list with soreness in both Achilles tendons, is with the team in Detroit, going through workouts with the Tigers’ medical and training staff.
With Faedo optioned out, rookie Beau Brieske will start against the Royals on Saturday and Tarik Skubal will pitch Sunday. Rony Garcia and Faedo will pitch the doubleheader on Monday and the Tuesday starter will be determined later.
“We optioned Alex out with a definite plan for him,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We’re trying to lengthen out his season. Coming off Tommy John (surgery), we’ve asked a lot out of him. The more we can get him extra rest, the better.”
Faedo will have nine days and seven days between his next two starts. He would be eligible to rejoin the Tigers’ rotation again after that. In the meantime, the Tigers will have to add a fifth starter, and the likely candidate is right-hander Drew Hutchison, who signed back with the Tigers for a fourth time in two seasons on Thursday and reported to Toledo.
“We’re glad he came back,” Hinch said. “He had other opportunities that he could have chosen. He’s continued to stay loyal and came back knowing this is a good spot for him. We laid out our plan and what we think is his path back to the big leagues and he bought in.”
No word from E-Rod
Rodriguez, whom the Tigers signed for five years and $77 million this offseason to anchor the rotation, left the team on June 13 to deal with marital issues. He was placed on the restricted list, meaning he is on leave without pay. He is losing more than $70,000 every day he is gone.
Hinch was asked for an update.
“There has been no movement whatsoever, no communication,” he said. “It’s been pretty quiet and we’ve respected his privacy and tried to wait for his camp to give us some direction on what’s ahead. We don’t know. We know he’s safe. We know he’s with his kids and we know he’s in Florida.
“All we can do now is move forward with what we have.”
Hinch said he didn’t know if Rodriguez was working out or throwing.
“We want him to be OK,” Hinch said. “We want him to be in a good place. We want things to be settled around him. But we can’t really make any considerations until we know exactly what’s at hand. So we wait for him to open up on what he wants.”
Meadows back in Detroit
First Meadows was sidelined with vertigo. Then it was COVID. Then, as he was about to start another rehab assignment, he came down with soreness in both Achilles. Hinch was asked how the Achilles soreness happened so soon after he was on the COVID-IL.
“Just getting back into baseball things,” he said. “Shoes and spikes, running. He said it’s not a big deal. He’s going to be here (with the Tigers) for a few days getting treatments with our people. We’re hoping to ramp up baseball activity to where he can get out (to Toledo) as early as mid-week.
“I don’t know how all this stuff creeps up. It wasn’t major, just the kind of inflammation any of us would get if we started a running program after being out for a while. It wasn’t alarming, but it stopped the progression of him getting back.”
Hinch said the hope is Meadows can be activated sometime during the road trip through Chicago, Kansas City and Cleveland that leads into the All-Star break.
“He’s had a rough couple of months,” Hinch said. “We will want to make sure he’s physically able to play with no issues.”
Around the horn
Right-handed reliever Jose Cisnero (shoulder) pitched an inning at Low-A Lakeland Thursday and will have his rehab assignment shifted to Toledo starting this weekend. Hinch said he will need at least five or six outings before they’ll consider activating him. Cisnero has been out all season.
… Right-hander Matt Manning (shoulder), still in Lakeland, is throwing out to 150 feet on flat ground. Hinch said the hope was Manning could start throwing off a mound either this weekend or early next week.
… Right-handed reliever Kyle Funkhouser (shoulder) is still only throwing off flat ground. Hinch said he was still at least a month away from ramping up and getting into rehab games. “It’s been super slow on purpose,” Hinch said. “We can’t afford another setback. Another setback and he’s out for the year.”
Royals at Tigers
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. Saturday, Comerica Park, Detroit
RHP Brady Singer (3-3, 4.50), Royals: He started the season in the bullpen, which was a surprise. This will be his ninth start and he’s coming off a rough month. In five June starts he was tagged for 19 earned runs and seven home runs in 28.2 innings. Hitters slugged .509 off him. His bread and butter is still the sinker (93-94 mph) and slider combination. He’s getting a 39% whiff rate with the slider.
RHP Beau Brieske (1-6, 4.55), Tigers: His last two starts have been rough, allowing nine runs and 11 hits in 8.2 innings at Boston and Arizona. Right-handed hitters are still doing most of the damage against him — hitting .284, slugging .560. Ten of the 14 homers he’s allowed have been hit by right-handed hitters.