Home News Eduardo Rodriguez (index finger) placed on injured list

Eduardo Rodriguez (index finger) placed on injured list

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DETROIT — Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, whose emergence as a front-line starter has been a critical driver behind Detroit’s improvement over the past month, went on the 15-day injured list Tuesday with an injury to his left index finger, putting the Tigers’ bounceback season and potentially this summer’s trade market in flux.

Rodriguez, who is 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA and a 0.975 WHIP through 11 starts, suffered the injury on one of his final pitches on Sunday against the White Sox. An MRI exam and evaluations from multiple doctors revealed a ruptured A4 pulley, which helps hold the tendon to the bone around the tip of the finger. It’s an injury more common in rock climbers and bowlers than pitchers, but the injury can affect pitchers as they release the ball off their fingertips. The best-known case in baseball is Randy Dobnak, who suffered a series of pulley ruptures that shortened his 2021 season and sidelined him for much of ’22. One study last year said six Major League pitchers have had the injury; another put the typical timetable for return at six weeks.

Rodriguez will rest for seven to 10 days before being re-evaluated for a throwing program, according to the Tigers’ injury report.

“It’s always hard to lose one of your better players,” manager A.J. Hinch said on Tuesday afternoon after announcing the news. “But it’s one of five days. We continue to hope that it’s a quick return, but it is what it is.”

Rodriguez is in the second season of a five-year, $77 million contract that he signed before the 2022 season. While the deal has three years and $49 million remaining after this year, it also has an opt-out clause that would allow Rodriguez to hit free agency in search of a larger contract in line with last offseason’s big signings. That, along with his strong start to this season, has fueled speculation the Tigers could listen to trade offers rather than risk losing him as a free agent. But a longer-term injury would clearly impact that market.

While the Tigers have yet to announce plans for filling Rodriguez’s rotation spot, the most likely option is right-hander Reese Olson, the team’s No. 11 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. While Olson has a 2-3 record and a 6.38 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Toledo this season, his first year at the highest level of the Minors, he has turned a corner in his past three starts, allowing two runs on 10 hits over 14 1/3 innings with 22 strikeouts. He fanned 10 batters over five innings of one-run ball last Friday against Rochester. Olson is already on Detroit’s 40-man roster, so the Tigers simply have to call him up if they opt to slot him into the rotation.

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