Hill, Holland on IL; Daz called up

June 10th, 2021

The Tigers placed outfielder on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder sprain on Thursday, one day after he crashed into the center-field wall at Comerica Park for a catch to rob Kyle Seager of a hit in Wednesday’s 9-6 loss to the Mariners.

Hill was diagnosed with a Grade 1 shoulder sprain, the least severe on the scale. It’s not expected to keep him out of action for long.

“He was moving around pretty well [Thursday morning], surprisingly well,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “But given that it was going to be at least a week, we needed to make a move and let it calm down a little bit. Scary play for him, good news is that it’s nothing too extreme, but enough to put him on the IL.”

Outfielder Daz Cameron, Detroit’s No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was called up to fill Hill’s spot. He begins his first big league stint of the season against the Mariners, the club for which his father, Mike, was an All-Star center fielder and remains a special assistant.

Tigers lefty reliever also went on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, his second IL stint of the season. Right-handed reliever Alex Lange was recalled from Toledo to fill his spot in the bullpen.

Hill traveled 96 feet to run down Seager’s first-inning drive Wednesday, then crashed into the wall as he made the catch. His right shoulder took the brunt of the collision, and he stayed down on the ground for several minutes before heading back to the clubhouse with Hinch and head athletic trainer Doug Teter.

“He is unbelievable out there,” Tigers starter Casey Mize said, “so not a surprise that he caught the ball. He’s very impressive, and it was an amazing catch, and I was definitely relieved. But then to see him down on the warning track for a while definitely stinks, that he was injured on such an amazing play. So definitely hoping the best for him.”

Hill has been regarded as a standout defender since joining the Tigers' system as a first-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, producing highlight grabs as far back at High-A West Michigan. His fearlessness to go flying into outfield walls and fences has allowed him to make seemingly improbable grabs, but that courage has also subjected him to injuries that slowed his progression. He had six stints on the injured list from 2015-17, including Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in '16.

Hill’s recent health has been a big factor in his development, allowing him to get regular at-bats and find a consistent approach at the plate. The Tigers called him up last week and have been giving him an extended look as their primary center fielder; Wednesday marked his fifth consecutive start in center.

That fearlessness included three crashes into outfield walls for catches during a six-game series for Triple-A Toledo last month at Indianapolis. He bounced off an electronic board in the left-field wall for a grab one night, then slid through the bullpen mounds into a low wall in front of the stands down the left-field line for another grab the next day.

Like Hill, the 24-year-old Cameron is a former first-round pick who made his Major League debut with the Tigers last season, batting 11-for-57 (.193) in 17 games. His 2021 season was delayed by injuries, first with an elbow issue from winter ball, then by a fractured right wrist. He returned a few weeks ago with a hot bat for Triple-A Toledo, batting .338 (26-for-77) for the Mud Hens with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs, 13 RBIs and a .958 OPS.

“Offensively, he’s very intriguing because of how he’s been swinging the bat at Triple-A,” Hinch said. “We didn’t get a ton of looks at him in the spring as a coaching staff, but he made a nice impression behind the scenes with the work that he was doing, and we’ll see if he can translate that to the big leagues.”

Holland’s injury is different than the left shoulder strain that landed him on the IL last month, Hinch said. He pitched two-thirds of an inning Wednesday, but his velocity drop was a warning sign. His two-seam fastball averaged 92 mph, compared to his 93.7 mph average for the season, according to Statcast. His one four-seam fastball came in at 90.3 mph compared to his 93.6 mph average.

“[Wednesday’s] outing really sparked the conversation, and he reported some soreness,” Hinch said.

Lange returns to Detroit after an up-and-down first stint. He looked very good in his first six outings in April, then struggled through a trio of three-run innings over the next 2 1/2 weeks.