Meadows placed on IL as he deals with anxiety

April 8th, 2023

DETROIT -- Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows is stepping away from the game to focus on his mental health. The team placed Meadows on the 10-day injured list Saturday with what was classified as anxiety.

Meadows missed much of last season with injuries, including Achilles tendinitis. He revealed last September that he was struggling with his mental health and would not return to the field. He worked out at Comerica Park, but remained away from the team for games.

Meadows, who along with his wife welcomed their first child last fall, rejoined the team in Spring Training, where he was teammates with his younger brother, Tigers prospect Parker Meadows. He played six games with the Tigers this season, batting 5-for-21 with a double and two RBIs, and spoke during Spring Training about the ongoing attention that mental health entails.

"I think it’s constant work," Meadows said in February. "... I have a great team of therapists, great team of people that helped me learn certain things and learn how to handle certain situations when something might be popping up."

Meadows was originally in the Tigers’ starting lineup as their left fielder for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox. Detroit announced the roster move about a half-hour before game time.

“The Tigers fully support Austin’s decision to step away from the team and prioritize his mental health,” Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said in a statement. “As an organization, we have taken many steps to provide and destigmatize mental health resources, and we will do more to help our players tackle the mental and physical challenges they face on a daily basis. We commend Austin for confronting these challenges head-on and ask our fans to join us in supporting him through every step of his journey back to the field.”

To fill Meadows’ spot, the Tigers recalled outfielder Akil Baddoo from Triple-A Toledo. The Mud Hens are in Omaha this week, but Baddoo made it to Detroit in time to start in left field and bat leadoff.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch did not provide any details on Meadows or the move beyond the statement when he talked after Saturday's 14-5 loss to the Red Sox.

"We're thinking of him, fully supporting him and hoping for better times," Hinch said.

Teammates also offered their support.

"It's tough," Tigers catcher Jake Rogers said. "With Austin, we're always cheering for him and want him to be here with us. ... We're going to be here for him whenever he needs us to be."