Eduardo Rodriguez returns to Tigers, AJ Hinch shows support
August 20, 2022
Eduardo Rodriguez, the starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, has been removed from the prohibited list and is returned to the team on Friday. In response, Tigers manager Andrew Jay Hinch has been eagerly anticipating his return.
Hinch told MLive.com reporter Evan Woodbery that Rodriguez "looks good."
“His tone, his demeanor — things that I’m looking for as a human first — he’s in a much better place,” he told Woodbery.
Meanwhile, The Atlantic reporter Cody Stavenhagen quoted Hinch on Twitter.
“I think you can have two emotions at the same time. You can be very emotional and supportive in what he’s had to go through and also very frustrated that we haven’t had one of our best pitchers,” Hinch said. “That’s OK. I told our guys that. We welcome him back."
Rodriguez is being reactivated before the season-opening against the Los Angeles Angels and is slated to pitch on Sunday, according to Woodbery.
Rodriguez expressed his delight at being reunited with his teammates.
“It was difficult to step away from my career, my teammates and everything, but for me family is always first," he said to Woodbery.
Moreover, Rodriguez has mentioned that he considers his teammates to be his second family.
“My second family is my teammates and the organization," Rodriguez said. "They’ve given me an opportunity to be here, and I’m back with my second family.”
Rodriguez's journey with Tigers
Previously, the 29-year-old player had been suspended since June 13 due to "personal matters," a reason that neither the Tigers nor Rodriguez fully disclosed.
The Tigers announced the banned decision in a complete statement.
“Eduardo Rodríguez has informed the Club that due to personal matters he will not rejoin the team at this time," the statement reads. "As a result, Eduardo has been placed on the restricted list until further notice.”
Prior to joining the Tigers, Rodriguez spent the first six years of his career with the Red Sox before signing a five-year contract worth at least $77 million with the Tigers this offseason.
The franchise had anticipated the agreement with Detroit after hearing from the Tigers' general manager, Al Avila, that Rodriguez was one of their top targets in the previous year's free agent pitching class.
“Eduardo was clearly one of our top targets in this year’s free agent pitching class, and we are extremely happy to add someone of his caliber to our rotation.”
At the time,Avila emphasized Rodriguez's skills, particularly his leadership.
“There are a number of strong qualities that Eduardo brings to our ballclub, including his leadership abilities, and we look forward to the positive impact he will have on our team both on and off the field," he explained.
Rodriguez's choice to accept the Tigers' offer reunited him with his former Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, who now serves as the Tigers' assistant pitching coach.
When questioned about his feelings about joining the Tigers, Rodriguez expressed his excitement.
“I am excited to be a Tiger and appreciate the commitment being made to building a winning team in Detroit.”
Rodriguez has appeared in eight games for the Tigers this season, going 1-3 with a 4.34 ERA. His last game with the Tigers was on May 18.