CHICAGO — Riley Greene looked like Superman.
Tim Anderson ripped a first-pitch fastball from left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The ball traveled 339 feet to left-center field, but Greene tracked the ball from left and completed a jaw-dropping diving catch to end the inning.
But not without a cost.
The Detroit Tigers removed Greene from Friday’s 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox in the top of the seventh inning for precautionary reasons due to a jammed right elbow, sustained on the diving catch.
The 22-year-old, considered day-to-day, won’t start Saturday but could return to the starting lineup Sunday. He is hitting .288 with 11 home runs, 35 walks and 114 strikeouts in 99 games.
“We wanted to get him checked out and start the treatment,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said after Friday’s game, adding Greene checked in with doctors. “Things are pointing in a positive direction. He’s pretty frustrated because he wanted to stay in the game, and it was kind of a freak play.”
Robbing Anderson of extra bases in Friday’s fifth inning adds another diving catch to Greene’s impressive résumé of stellar catches in the outfield. The Tigers moved him off center field and to the corner positions, in part to protect his health, upon the Aug. 21 arrival of center fielder Parker Meadows.
After 11 games, Meadows is worth plus-3 defensive runs saved in center.
“Outfielders, infielders, I literally love everybody,” Rodriguez said. “With those two out there, I just want to keep the ball inside of the park. I know they’re going to catch it every time somebody hits it up there.”
Rodriguez didn’t think Greene would make the catch when he turned around, leaving him looking stunned once the play unfolded. Rodriguez tossed his arms in the air in celebration of the diving catch, while catcher Jake Rogers walked off the field like nothing happened.
“Riley being Riley,” Rogers said. “I’ve gotten too used to seeing those. … Right off the bat, I saw him take off for it, and I saw him flying through the air, and he had it. I knew he had a chance.”
Hinch, like Rodriguez, didn’t think Greene would catch the ball.
“Off the bat, I didn’t think he had a chance at it,” Hinch said. “It came back to him a little bit, and he took a great angle. He went 100% from the first step, which is very key. This guy is a really good outfielder, and putting him on the corner will make him even more dynamic. … Just like he did in center field, he’s going to go at it 100% until he can’t catch it. We’ve seen the diving catch before with him.”
Playing at full speed is the only way Greene knows how to play, but it can be costly from a health standpoint. After making the catch, his right elbow hit the ground and jammed when he extended across the grass.
Greene returned to left field for the sixth inning, seemingly healthy, before the Tigers pulled him ahead of his plate appearance in the seventh inning. He wasn’t available to speak with reporters after Friday’s game.
“He’ll be off (Saturday) because of where we’re at in the season and how important he is,” Hinch said. “But he’ll be right next to me trying to pinch-hit.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Riley Greene’s diving catch for Detroit Tigers not without a price
Source: Yahoo Sports