Schoop had a rare day out of the lineup Sunday, supposedly to rest his legs. His injury is on the same wrist where he was hit by an Adrian Houser pitch on Sept. 8 against the Brewers, but the sprain apparently came from swinging, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.
“It's tough to put him on the IL, but I can't go without him more,” Gardenhire said. “I'm activating one [player] and I'm sending another down, and if he can't play, that's really hard right now. He was going to miss three or four days no matter what; now he's going to miss seven. But we have to let him get well. He definitely has a hard time swinging at all.”
When he has been swinging healthy, Schoop was the most important hitter in the Tigers' lineup until Jeimer Candelario’s recent tear at the plate. Schoop’s eight home runs lead the team and he’s batting .278 with 23 RBIs and a .799 OPS, but he hit 2-for-16 with four strikeouts and two double plays after the hit-by-pitch.
Goodrum returns with a .186 average (21-for-113), five home runs and 17 RBIs, but a healthier swing could set up a late turnaround. The oblique injury bothered him more at the plate than in the field.
“He's excited to be back, and he says he has no pain whatsoever,” Gardenhire said. “That's the most important thing.”
So what happens with Willi Castro, who took over as the Tigers’ everyday shortstop while Goodrum was out? Castro will stay at short, with Goodrum moving to second in Schoop’s absence. Detroit wants to evaluate Castro at the position going into next year.
“They want to take a good look at him,” Gardenhire said of Castro. “He's swinging good, and we know that Niko can play multiple positions. Willi's done it, too, but I told Niko he'll go to second and he said whatever. He just wants to play.”
Shortstop was Goodrum’s first chance to play one position in the Majors. Defensively, he registered well there, leading all Tigers infielders with three Outs Above Average according to Statcast, compared to minus-3 for Castro.
It’ll be the first stint on the Tigers’ active roster for Haase, a Detroit-area native who played at Dearborn’s Divine Child High School before Cleveland drafted him in 2011. The Tigers acquired him in January for catching depth.
“It’s awesome. I get chills thinking about it,” Haase said about putting on a Tigers uniform in a game for the first time. “From the minute they said that I was traded over here, it’s obviously been in the back of my mind.”
Haase has been around the team for most of the season as a member of the taxi squad on road trips, which allowed him to catch side sessions before games and serve as a bullpen catcher during games. He had brief stints with Cleveland the last couple years, batting 3-for-32 while starting four games behind the plate.
“Haase has been working really, really hard and we'll give him an opportunity here, activate him and see what he can do,” Gardenhire said. “We're trying to find a pick-me-up on offense. He'll get his action. Just like where Greiner would be normally, Haase will be there. Hopefully Grayson will go down and get a little more confidence going, and we'll see where he's at after that.”
Greiner batted .118 (6-for-51) with three homers, two doubles and eight RBIs in 18 games this season. He hit a go-ahead home run at Minnesota as part of a two-hit, two-RBI game on Sept. 6, but went 0-for-9 last week.
Haase’s arrival also likely means that catching prospect Jake Rogers will not be called up this season, as general manager Al Avila cautioned at the end of August. The Tigers’ No. 12 prospect played 35 games for Detroit last year, but he went to Toledo this season to work on his swing after batting .125 (14-for-112) with 51 strikeouts.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated,” Gardenhire said. “Haase has been the one that’s been on the taxi squad the whole time. He’s got some experience. We want to take a look at him. We know where Jake’s going to be next year. He’s going to be with us for sure. We want to make sure what we’ve got in Haase.”