The Detroit Tigers called up Kody Clemens for his MLB debut.
A berth for Clemens, a versatile left-handed hitter and defenseman, opened up Monday morning when the Tigers decided to place outfielder Robbie Grossman on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained neck.
The Tigers plan to use Clemens primarily against right-handed pitchers.
“We don’t need him to be a superman,” manager AJ Hinch said ahead of Monday’s game at Comerica Park against the Minnesota Twins. “He’s not the answer to all our problems, but this is an opportunity for him to push his way into the big leagues for the first time, and he’s well deserved it. … He’s made his way here.”
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Clemens, the son of seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, is the Tigers’ No. 17 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The Tigers drafted Clemens in the third round, No. 79 overall, in the 2018 draft.
For Triple-A Toledo, Clemens hit .283 with nine doubles, six triples, eight home runs, 31 RBIs, 10 walks and 52 strikeouts in 45 games. The 26-year-old played at second base (17 starts), third base (11 starts), left field (10 starts) and first base (seven starts).
“If he can come in and do what he did in Triple-A, that’ll be a good boost for us and a nice addition to the roster,” Hinch said. “It’s going to create crazy defensive lineups. Replacing Robbie, who is all on the outside, with an infielder is a challenge, but it was his bat that got him here.”
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His primary position, second base, is filled by Jonathan Schoop, which means Clemens will get most of his MLB playing time at first base, third base and outfield corners.
Without Grossman, utility player Harold Castro will get more reps in the outfield, and fellow utility player Willi Castro — a recent stalwart in left field — will get a few starts in right field.
“You’ll see creative options,” Hinch said.
The Tigers have considered calling Clemens at least twice this season, but the organization has gone with other options on the 40-man roster. Clemens joined the Tigers’ 40-man roster last November.
Clemens, en route to Columbus, Ohio, when he learned of his promotion, reported to Comerica Park around noon for Monday’s 1:10 p.m. game, so he will be available on the bench.
He is expected to start Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“We’ve been very careful about when we’re going to call him,” Hinch said. “Putting him on the bench makes you feel better, but it might not bring you closer to winning. But his name has been thrown around a few times. Now we’re going to force him into the line-up.”
The timeline for Grossman’s return is unclear. Grossman, 32, is hitting .199 with a .241 slugging percentage, 21 walks and 51 strikeouts in 42 games. He had neck spasms in the batting cage before Sunday’s game, tried to play through the pain and was substituted in the lineup after one plate appearance.
“He’s no better, which is the main issue,” Hinch said. “We can’t play short (a spot on the roster). This placement in IL is part of the symptoms, because he can’t turn his neck. … We had to make an aggressive move, but he can’t work. It is the main publication.”
Miguel Cabrera needs ‘one more day’
Designated hitter Miguel Cabrera — absent from Sunday and Monday’s starting lineup — felt healthy enough to play Monday, but the Tigers opted to give him an extra day off.
The 39-year-old left Saturday’s game with lower back strain but will not need to remain on the injured list.
“Miguel is in good spirits,” Hinch said. “He’ll move a bit and do a bit more than he did yesterday. Maybe he’s available for a late inning hit, maybe not, but we’ll see as we go along.”
Cabrera, a 20-year MLB veteran, is hitting .294 with six doubles, three home runs, 18 RBIs, 10 walks and 42 strikeouts in 40 games.
His 113 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) pace all Tigers with at least 110 plate appearances, and are followed by Spencer Torkelson (80), Grossman (71), Jeimer Candelario (70), Javier Báez (57) and Jonathan Schoop (44).
Lakeland Key Players
Outfielder Austin Meadows hasn’t put on his Tigers jersey since May 15, but the 27-year-old appears to be on his way back after landing on the injured list on May 16 with dizziness.
Meadows, who currently does baseball in Lakeland, Fla., could begin a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday.
The Tigers will benefit from having his bat back in the lineup, as he is hitting .267 with 12 walks and 14 strikeouts in 28 games. The Tigers acquired Meadows on April 5 in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Right-hander Casey Mize, sidelined since April 15 with a sprained right elbow, played Monday morning at Lakeland, starting his second shooting program since the Tigers placed him on the roster. wounded.
The first pitching schedule was canceled after Mize began rehab on May 12 for Triple-A Toledo. He recorded just two first-inning outs on 29 pitches, allowing three runs on four hits and one hitter.
Riley Greene at Mud Hens
The Tigers moved rehab outfielder Riley Greene from Low-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo on Monday. The 21-year-old went 2 for 6 with two RBIs, a walk and a stolen base in two games for the Flying Tigers.
After taking Sunday off, Greene will be in Monday’s lineup for the Mud Hens. He is scheduled to play Monday, Wednesday and Thursday against the Columbus Clippers in Columbus, Ohio.
Toledo has no match on Tuesday.
Greene — the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 draft — is the Tigers’ No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and the No. 2 prospect in baseball. He played in 11 games in spring training, batting .421 on seven extra hits, including two homers, before fracturing his foot on April 1 on a foul ball.
First batter Harold Castro
Harold Castro, for the first time this season and the eighth time in his career, led the Tigers on Monday against Twins right-hander Dylan Bundy. Castro, 28, entered the game with a .636 ERA (7 for 11) with three homers in his last three games.
“Harold swings the bat as well as anyone,” Hinch said. “I want him to get as many hits against the right-handed pitcher as possible.”
Hinch thinks the Twins will bring in left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar to face Castro at some point in Monday’s game. Castro has done well against right-handers and left-handers in 2022, but is better against right-handers (.306 batting average) than left-handers (.231) in his career.
Castro, a five-year MLB veteran, is hitting .325 with four doubles, one triple, four home runs, nine RBIs, two walks and 14 strikeouts in 27 games this season.
“For me, Harold having the most at-bats is really key,” Hinch said. “He’s not your standard guy on base. He’s not the guy who’s going to run the bases and create havoc like the others on our roster. No one on our team swings bat, bat to ball on the barrel, better than Harold.”
Gary Jones on the mend
First baseman coach Gary Jones knocked a foul ball out of his leg in the third inning on Sunday. Although Jones is with the Tigers, assistant batting coach Mike Hessman will take his place as first baseman for Monday’s game.
“Gary’s ankle is quite swollen and it’s quite rough,” Hinch said. “We’ll see how he does as the series goes on, but Hess will come first.”
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