Outfielder Riley Greene will undergo what the Tigers described as a “surgical intervention” on his ailing right elbow tomorrow, according to a team announcement. Greene has been on the 10-day injured list due to elbow inflammation since September 2, though today’s announcement referred to the injury as a sprain.
The exact nature of the procedure isn’t known, as while it will surely bring Greene’s 2023 season to an official end, it isn’t yet known if he’ll be ready for the start of Spring Training. As noted by multiple Tigers beat writers, the surgery appears to be somewhat exploratory in nature, so Greene’s status won’t be known until doctors have had a chance to access and repair whatever damage exists.
Between the elbow problem and a stress reaction in his left fibula earlier this season, Greene has been limited to 99 games and 416 plate appearances in his second MLB season. When healthy, however, Greene showed some of the form that made him the fifth overall pick of the 2019 draft. Greene hit .288/.349/.447 with 11 home runs and 51 runs scored, as well as seven stolen bases in as many attempts. A .384 BABIP surely contributed to this production, but Greene also made plenty of hard contact, and his .344 wOBA was notably lower than his .363 xwOBA. His public defensive metrics in center field were below average, but it stands to reason that Greene’s glovework could improve with better health in 2024.
The hope is obviously that Greene’s elbow problem isn’t overly serious, and that the recovery process won’t eat up much of his regular offseason work and preparation for next year. While the Tigers are headed for another losing season, things have somewhat turned around in Motown after their thoroughly dismal 2022 campaign. Many of the team’s young pitchers have returned from the injuries that marred the 2022 season, and Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Kerry Carpenter have provided some spark to a lineup that still figures to be an offseason focus for improvement.
In other Tigers injury news, Alex Faedo was placed on the 15-day IL due to a blister on his right middle finger. Faedo might be able to pitch again this season since his placement is retroactive to September 16, but it seems likelier that the righty might be done for 2023. Faedo has a 4.45 ERA over 64 2/3 innings this season, starting 12 of his 15 games and moving into a multi-inning inning relief role in September.