After more than a month of silence, left-handed bowler Eduardo Rodriguez reached out to the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers put Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, $77 million contract in November, on the banned list on June 13, with the bowler tending to a marital affair. Rodriguez and Tigers manager AJ Hinch spoke on the phone about 10 days ago, general manager Al Avila said Saturday.
“He has expressed to me that he is working hard, that his personal situations are being taken care of, and at some point, he will get over that,” said Avila, who spoke to Rodriguez on Friday. “He is looking forward to coming back and joining 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 shooter Chris Vetter – and is expected to return to the major leagues in late August.
Rodriguez will remain unpaid and on the banned list until he takes the hill for the Tigers. A player cannot be reinstated on the restricted list between August 1 and October 31 unless the replay is approved by the Commissioner’s Office.
The Tigers will not attempt to trade with Rodriguez.
“I’ve talked to him a few times,” Hinch said. “At first, when we called back, I was just making sure he was okay and checking on his family. The second time around was about the throw-and-go program like spring training. He does a good job and obviously leans into a lot of personal things, spending time with his kids and preparing his kids for school.” .
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Eventually, Rodriguez will move to Lakeland, Florida, to get the bull pens at the team’s spring training facility. After that, he is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment for Low-A Lakeland before progressing to Triple-A Toledo to begin rehab at least twice.
Rodriguez will likely miss the remainder of the season if he suffers a setback related to throwing. He hasn’t been involved in the majors since May 18, and he hasn’t been with 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 strokes in 39 runs in eight starts.
Avila does not think there will be any problems at the club when Rodriguez returns to the team. Hinch informed the players on Saturday about the latest developments in the situation.
“I don’t think so,” Avila said. “By the time he comes back, I’m sure he’ll have to talk to his teammates and talk to the team, and we’ll move on from there.”
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Rodriguez is still under contract with the Tigers until 2026, but has a cancellation clause in his contract after the 2023 season.
He also has a limited clause not to trade.
“He’s obviously a good bowler,” Avila said. “We signed him because he has a good, long track record of relying on the pile. Unfortunately, he 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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