After more than a month of silence, left-handed starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez connected with the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers placed Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, $77 million contract in November, on the restricted list June 13, as the pitcher tended to a marital issue. Rodriguez and Tigers manager AJ Hinch talked on the phone approximately 10 days ago, general manager Al Avila said Saturday.
“He expressed to me that he’s working hard, his personal situations are being taken care of, and at some point, he’ll be over that,” said Avila, who spoke to Rodriguez on Friday. “He’s looking forward to coming back, rejoining the team and helping us win.”
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The 29-year-old is working through a throwing program in South Florida — designed by pitching coach Chris Fetter — and is expected to return to the big leagues in late August.
Rodriguez will remain unpaid and on the restricted list until he takes the mound for the Tigers. A player on the restricted list cannot be reinstated between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31 unless the commissioner’s office has approved the reinstatement.
The Tigers won’t try to trade Rodriguez.
“I’ve talked to him a couple times,” Hinch said. “Initially, when we got back in touch, I was just making sure he was OK and checking on his family. The second time was about the throwing program and the progression like a spring training. He’s doing fine and obviously tending to a lot of personal matters and spending time with his kids and getting his kids ready for school.”
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Eventually, Rodriguez will transition to Lakeland, Florida, for bullpens at the team’s spring training facility. After that, he is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment for Low-A Lakeland before advancing to Triple-A Toledo for at least two more rehab starts.
Rodriguez will likely miss the remainder of the season if he suffers a throwing-related setback. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18, and he hasn’t pitched for the organization since June 9, when he completed a rehab assignment with Toledo.
In 2022, Rodriguez has a 4.38 ERA with 17 walks and 34 strikeouts across 39 innings in eight starts.
Avila does not think there will be any clubhouse issues upon Rodriguez’s return to the team. Hinch informed the players Saturday about the latest in the situation.
“I don’t think so,” Avila said. “At the point when he comes back, I’m sure he’s going to have to talk to his teammates and address the team, and we’ll move on from there.”
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Rodriguez remains under contract with the Tigers through 2026, but he has an opt-out clause in his contract after the 2023 season.
He also has a limited no-trade clause.
“He’s a good pitcher, obviously,” Avila said. “We signed him because he has a good, long track record of dependability on the mound. Unfortunately, he’s had a personal issue that he felt he needed to take care of at this point. We just have to move on from there.”
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