Detroit Tigers prospect Daz Cameron suffers arm injury in Puerto Rico

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Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
·5 min read
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Detroit Tigers outfielder Daz Cameron was shut down with "arm discomfort" during his offseason assignment in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

He is currently receiving further evaluation on his injury in the United States, according to a statement Monday by the Tigers to the Free Press. The 23-year-old is the organization's No. 7 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

"Daz experienced arm discomfort while working out with his winter league team," the Tigers' statement reads. "He has returned to the United States for further evaluation and to prepare for spring training."

[ Detroit Tigers right-handed pitching prospect Alex Faedo has Tommy John surgery ]

Detroit Tigers right fielder Daz Cameron (41) celebrates with designated hitter Miguel Cabrera after scoring a run in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, Sept. 22, 2020.
Detroit Tigers right fielder Daz Cameron (41) celebrates with designated hitter Miguel Cabrera after scoring a run in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, Sept. 22, 2020.

Cameron played two regular-season games for Indios de Mayagüez — on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 — and went 0-for-7 with one RBI, one walk and four strikeouts. He was slated to be in the Dec. 27 lineup but was a late scratch.

Before the Puerto Rican playoffs began Saturday, Indios de Mayagüez moved Cameron to the reserve. He will not return to the team's active roster for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. The severity of his injury, however, remains unclear.

Cameron made his MLB debut in 2020, hitting 11-for-57 (.193) with two doubles, one triple, three RBIs, two walks and 19 strikeouts in 17 games. If healthy, he is expected to compete for a spot on the Tigers' 2021 Opening Day roster.

[ Detroit Tigers' Daz Cameron's first MLB hit: Like father, like son, 25 years later ]

Tigers add five to minor leagues

The Tigers signed five pitchers to minor-league contracts to add depth to the organization, the team announced Monday morning. Those joining for the 2021 season: right-hander Isrrael De La Cruz, right-hander A.J. Ladwig, right-hander Henry Martinez, right-hander Zac Shepherd and left-hander Locke St. John.

[ Detroit Tigers sign Jose Urena, but their short-term pitching plan hasn't worked recently ]

The most notable is St. John, who made seven relief appearances for the Texas Rangers in the 2019 season. The Rangers picked him up from the Tigers in the minor-league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 draft.

The 27-year-old was drafted by Detroit in the 32nd round of the 2014 draft from South Alabama.

Here's more information on the five players signed by the Tigers.

RHP Isrrael De La Cruz

Age: 23.

Vitals: 6-0, 150.

Bats/throws: Switch/right.

Last played: Rookie Gulf Coast League for Tigers in 2019.

The buzz: De La Cruz signed with the Tigers in July 2013 and began his career as a second baseman and shortstop. He transitioned to the outfield for the first time in 2017 but maintained his status in the infield, as well.

In the Rookie Gulf Coast League in 2019, De La Cruz made 12 relief appearances across 13⅔ innings. He registered a 3.29 ERA and a 0.732 WHIP, logging 14 strikeouts and five walks. His low-90s fastball isn't anything spectacular, yet the Tigers plan to use him exclusively as a pitcher.

RHP A.J. Ladwig

Age: 28.

Vitals: 6-5, 180.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Last played: Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie in 2018.

The buzz: Ladwig missed the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery, and because of the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, he hasn't made an in-game appearance since Sept. 1, 2018. He spent that year between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, posting a 4.78 ERA, 1.347 WHIP, 98 strikeouts and 25 walks in 25 games (23 starts) across 133⅔ innings. Ladwig was drafted by the Tigers in the 11th round in 2014 from Wichita State.

RHP Henry Martinez

Age: 26.

Vitals: 6-1, 180.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Last played: Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus for Cleveland Indians in 2019.

The buzz: Martinez tossed 47 games and 59⅔ innings out of the bullpen between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. He had a 4.37 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 29 walks. His fastball ranges from 93-98 mph. This offseason, after the minors were canceled, he joined Caribes de Anzoátegui in the Venezuelan Winter League. Martinez pitched in 10 games (10 innings) with a 4.50 ERA, seven strikeouts and four walks. In January 2020, the Indians invited him to spring training.

RHP Zac Shepherd

Age: 25.

Vitals: 6-3, 185.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Last played: Low-A Connecticut, Single-A West Michigan and High-A Lakeland in 2019.

The buzz: Shepherd's .192 batting average (15-for-78) through 25 games for High-A Lakeland in 2019 had him on the brink of elimination from the Tigers' farm system. But the infielder decided to reinvent himself as a pitcher and continue toward his major-league dreams. He finished the year with Low-A Connecticut (13 games) and Single-A West Michigan (seven games). Between the two squads, the righty had a 3.00 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 13 walks in 33 innings.

This offseason, Shepherd is pitching for the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League.

LHP Locke St. John

Age: 27.

Vitals: 6-3, 180.

Bats/throws: Left/left.

Last played: MLB, Triple-A Nashville and Double-A Frisco for Texas Rangers in 2019.

The buzz: A minor-league selection in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, the Rangers swiped St. John from the Tigers. He pitched 40 games in the minors in 2018 before making his MLB debut June 25, 2019, for the Rangers. He had a 5.40 ERA, 1.650 WHIP, five strikeouts and four walks in 6⅔ innings.

Between Double-A and Triple-A that year, St. John had a 4.38 ERA in 39 games and 49⅓ innings. He logged 65 strikeouts and 24 walks. He uses a four-seam fastball, slider, sinker and changeup. His fastball — for the Rangers in 2019 — averaged 89.7 mph.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers prospect Daz Cameron suffers arm injury in Puerto Rico