LAKELAND, Fla. — Riley Greene’s exciting crescendo to his MLB debut has come to a crashing halt.
The 21-year-old outfielder suffered a fracture in his right foot Friday, after fouling a pitch off it, and will be out for next week’s Opening Day and beyond. The injury won’t require surgery at this point, Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Saturday morning, and Greene is wearing a protective boot.
The fracture was confirmed by Dr. Robert Anderson, Hinch said, and the team will take another look in a few weeks for further diagnosis.
“A timeline at this point would be unnecessary,” Hinch said. “I don’t know.
“I feel for him. He was having a great spring, he was trending all in the right direction. He’s super energetic, great kid, great attitude. He’s taking this news as positive as he can. … Truly disappointed for him and our organization. … It’s disappointing for him specifically because of the work he put in to make a good impression.”
Greene was removed from Friday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees after the third inning. Facing Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole, he fouled a pitch off the inside part of his foot. He stayed in the game, drilled a sixth-pitch changeup for a triple and later scored for the Tigers’ first run.
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Greene, the Tigers’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the No. 5 prospect in baseball, left the dugout with a trainer after the third inning ended, limping down the right-field line, and later underwent X-rays and medical tests.
A healthy Greene projected as the Tigers’ Opening Day center fielder, though they had not officially determined his assignment for the season. The Tigers have said service time would not factor into the organization’s decision.
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Greene hit .429 (9-for-21) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, four RBIs, three walks and six strikeouts in 11 games this spring, with a .500 on-base percentage and 1.048 slugging percentage.
Victor Reyes will see increased playing time at center field in Greene’s absence, and Eric Haase and Willi Castro will also take more reps in the outfield. Akil Baddoo is the starting left fielder with Robbie Grossman in right field.
The team does not have plans to pursue free agent outfielder Michael Conforto, according to a source. The 29-year-old is the highest profile unsigned free agent, and last season for the New York Mets hit .232 with a .344 on-base percentage, 14 home runs and 55 RBIs in 125 games. His agent is Scott Boras.
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More injury updates
Oft-injured outfielder Derek Hill will start the season on the injured list with a gimpy hamstring, Hinch announced. The 26-year-old left Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater with cramps.
Newly signed left-handed reliver Andrew Chafin (groin) will also start the season on the IL. Chafin, 31, reported groin tightness before Wednesday’s game when he was supposed to pitch out of the bullpen.
Hinch believes both have a chance to return to the Tigers before the end of April.
After Friday’s game, the Tigers optioned catcher Ryan Lavarnway and infielders Ryan Kreidler and Jack Lopez to Triple-A Toledo.
The Mud Hens begin their season Tuesday.
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The Tigers have 36 players remaining in major league camp. They can take 28 on their Opening Day roster, ahead of Friday’s regular season debut vs. the Chicago White Sox.
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