Detroit Tigers' Beau Brieske faces injury setback; Austin Meadows begins rehab assignment

·5 min read

Detroit Tigers right-hander Beau Brieske reached 97 mph with his fastball on Friday in his second rehab start for Triple-A Toledo.

The 24-year-old, who hasn't pitched in the majors since July 12 and is on the injured list with right forearm soreness, had a  pain-free outing. He felt healthy Saturday, too. The positive reports put him on track to pitch Thursday for the Tigers against the Cleveland Guardians at Comerica Park.

Then, Brieske revealed a setback: right bicep tendinitis.

"He went to his bullpen and told (Doug Bochtler, Triple-A pitching coach) that he needed to shut it down while it was sore," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We'll reevaluate his timeline, but he's not going to pitch this series or next."

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Tigers pitcher Beau Brieske delivers against the White Sox during the fifth inning on Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Chicago.
Tigers pitcher Beau Brieske delivers against the White Sox during the fifth inning on Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Chicago.

Brieske will remain on the injured list and is unlikely to continue his rehab assignment in Toledo, meaning the Tigers could send him to Lakeland, Florida, home of the team's spring training facility, to restart his throwing program.

"I wouldn't expect him in the next couple series," Hinch said.

The Tigers have four starters in the rotation: right-handers Matt Manning, Garrett Hill and Drew Hutchison and left-hander Tyler Alexander. Alexander started Tuesday against Cleveland and will be followed by Hutchison and Hill on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Manning is scheduled to start Saturday, the second game against the White Sox in Chicago, which means the Tigers need a starter for Friday's series opener. Left-hander Daniel Norris is lined up to start Friday for the Mud Hens, so he is an option to start for the Tigers but would need to be added to the 40-man and 26-man rosters.

"We'll have the five-man rotation until we get to the off day (Aug. 18)," Hinch said.

The Tigers are also without left-hander Tarik Skubal. The 25-year-old is on the injured list with left arm fatigue. He is being monitored day-to-day, but the organization won't rush him back.

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Skubal has a 3.52 ERA with 32 walks and 117 strikeouts over 117⅔ innings in 21 starts, while Brieske — a 27th-round pick in 2019 — owns a 4.19 ERA with 25 walks and 54 strikeouts over 81⅔ innings in 15 starts.

"We're at the point in the season where we need to be ultra conservative with all these guys," Hinch said. "We want to encourage them to tell us if they have any feeling whatsoever. When Beau does, it's immediately pull back and start over. When Tarik does, we're going to go super slow. There's no date for either of them at this point."

Tigers left fielder Austin Meadows catches a fly ball against the fence hit by White Sox catcher Seby Zavala during the eighth inning of the Tigers' 13-0 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at Comerica Park.
Tigers left fielder Austin Meadows catches a fly ball against the fence hit by White Sox catcher Seby Zavala during the eighth inning of the Tigers' 13-0 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at Comerica Park.

Austin Meadows' 'slow' road back

Outfielder Austin Meadows (Achilles strains) went through hitting and base running drills at Comerica Park before Tuesday's game. He is slated to begin his rehab assignment Wednesday as the designated hitter for Triple-A Toledo.

The 27-year-old needs at least 7-10 days in Toledo before the Tigers consider activating him to the big-league roster.

"That will start his progression, where it will be relatively slow but consistent," Hinch said. "Five, seven innings for a couple days until we alleviate any concern that the soreness is going to come back into his Achilles."

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Meadows hasn't played since June 15 and has been limited to appearing in 14 of the Tigers' past 86 games due to several health issues, including an inner ear infection and vertigo. He is batting .250 with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts in 36 games. Upon his return, the 2019 All-Star will be searching for his first home run this season.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter during the first inning Friday, May 13, 2022, at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter during the first inning Friday, May 13, 2022, at Comerica Park in Detroit.

'No issues' with Eduardo Rodriguez

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (restricted list) is penned in as Thursday's starter for Triple-A Toledo. The 29-year-old completed his first rehab start Saturday for Low-A Lakeland, tossing three innings of one-run ball.

"Hopefully, we can get him up to four innings and 70-75 pitches or whatever it takes for him to get through those," Hinch said. "He might want a fifth up. Texting back and forth with him, he's been feeling really good. No issues."

Rodriguez, throwing 38 of 59 pitches for strikes, allowed one run on three hits and one walk with five strikeouts in Saturday's start for the Flying Tigers. He used 23 changeups, 20 four-seam fastballs, 12 sinkers and four sliders, generating seven swings and misses.

Five of his seven whiffs were produced by his changeup.

His fastball averaged 90.8 mph and topped out at 92.4 mph.

"He threw a bullpen (Monday) in Lakeland," Hinch said. "(Assistant pitching coordinator) Jorge Cordova, one of our minor-league coordinators, has done a good job of getting him squared away before he passes him on to Toledo. He's going to fly tomorrow and be ready to go on Thursday."

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers' Beau Brieske suffers setback with pitching arm