Detroit Tigers OF Derek Hill returns from injury; Renato Nunez designated for assignment

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TORONTO — Detroit Tigers center fielder Derek Hill is back.

Needing a spark defensively and on the bases, the Tigers reinstated the 25-year-old from the injured list Saturday before the second of three games against the Toronto Blue Jays. He has been sidelined since an Aug. 10 collision in the outfield in Baltimore with fellow outfielder Akil Baddoo, who is nearing his return from concussion protocol.

Hill was diagnosed with a left ribcage contusion.

To make room for Hill's return, first baseman Renato Nunez was designated for assignment. He has been designated for assignment twice this season, the first happening April 21 after a seven-game stint.

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Detroit Tigers center fielder Derek Hill (54) bunts during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park on August 4, 2021.
Detroit Tigers center fielder Derek Hill (54) bunts during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park on August 4, 2021.

Hill is hitting .250 with one home run, eight RBIs, 10 walks and 20 strikeouts over 28 games, along with stealing six bases in eight attempts. He was the Tigers' No. 23 overall pick in the 2014 draft from Elk Grove High School in California but took seven years to develop in the minor leagues.

He started in center field and batted leadoff in his return Saturday at the Rogers Centre.

Nunez, 27, has played 14 games for the Tigers in 2021, hitting .189 with four home runs, seven RBIs, one walk and 16 strikeouts. He signed a minor-league contract with the Tigers this past offseason but didn't make the Opening Day roster out of spring training.

In the 2019 and 2020 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles, Nunez combined for a .247 batting average, 43 home runs, 61 walks and 207 strikeouts across 203 games. The Orioles, though, released him in November because his poor defense at first base confined him to designated hitter.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers outfielder Derek Hill returns from injured list