The 22-year-old Paredes was in uniform for the Tigers’ series opener against the Mariners on Tuesday night. He’ll take the place of Jeimer Candelario, who was placed on the bereavement list.
By rule, players on the bereavement list must miss at least three days and no more than seven. Thus, Candelario -- one of the Tigers’ leading hitters this year -- will miss the Mariners series and could miss part of or all of the White Sox series as well.
“Jeimer got in touch with me in the really early hours of the morning to let me know that something had happened in his family and he needed to leave the team for a few days,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “So we put him on the bereavement list, obviously looking out for him and just making sure he’s OK. And then he hopped on a plane and did go to the Dominican Republic to be with his family.
“Obviously, it’s his news to share whenever he’s comfortable, but we’ll be thinking about him and praying for him, and we’ll miss him for the days he’s away.”
Though the Tigers could have recalled infielder Zack Short, they opted to take a look at Paredes, who made his Major League debut last August and served as the Tigers’ primary third baseman for a stretch last season. After a strong start last August, he batted .220 (22-for-100) last year with four doubles, one home run, six RBIs, eight walks and 24 strikeouts.
Paredes made a strong push for an Opening Day roster spot this year, winning a batting title in the Mexican Winter League before getting a heavy dose of playing time in Spring Training. Hinch played him at second base in addition to third in hopes of finding an extra infield spot for him, but his struggles at the plate reinforced the belief that he needed some finishing work at Triple-A Toledo after having no Minor League season last year.
“I took it as a lesson to work harder,” Paredes said, “and I took the experience of having more hunger for being back in Major League Baseball.”
As one of the youngest players in Triple-A East, 4.8 years below the league average age, according to Baseball-Reference, Paredes got off to a slow start before his offense picked up. He ended last week with the Mud Hens batting .269 (29-for-108) with two homers, 14 RBIs and a .732 OPS. His 14 walks and 17 strikeouts are more in line with his hitting history and his strike-zone awareness.
“The reports from [Mud Hens manager] Tom [Prince] and the group down there is that he’s showing the same instincts, tangibles, feel for the game. His offense has picked up in the last few weeks, and he needs to be reminded that he’s not out of sight, out of mind," Hinch said. "He’s very much a part of what we want to do, and the fact that we have some playing time this series, maybe even into the White Sox series, it seemed like a good thing for us to give him a look.”
That look for now will be at third base, but the Tigers also have to figure out where he fits long term, especially if Candelario becomes part of the long-term plan. Paredes played second base as well as shortstop in Toledo, more so even than third base over the last few weeks. With second base unsettled long term, depending on Willi Castro’s development and defense, Paredes could eventually hit his way into that position to find himself in a regular spot in the lineup.