Why Detroit Tigers scratched prized prospect Riley Greene from Arizona Fall League

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Detroit Tigers prospect Riley Greene has been scratched from the Arizona Fall League roster.

The 21-year-old center fielder sustained a concussion during his final game for Triple-A Toledo, an Oct. 2 matchup against the St. Paul Saints — a Minnesota Twins' affiliate — at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press.

Trying to make play with two outs in the fourth inning, Greene lost sight of a fly ball but attempted to recover from his mistake with a diving catch in left-center field. As Greene extended his body, he collided with left fielder Jacob Robson. Both players stayed in the game.

Later on, Greene reported concussion symptoms. He then failed a concussion test and did not play in the Mud Hens' final game of the season.

SEIDEL: Why Tigers GM Al Avila can see the 'light at the end of the tunnel'

10 TO GROWN ON: How these players took Tigers from cellar to postseason chasers

Toledo Mud Hens centerfielder Riley Greene listens to reporters questions after batting practice and before his teams game against the St. Paul Saints at Fifth Third Stadium in Toledo, Ohio on August 24, 2021.
Toledo Mud Hens centerfielder Riley Greene listens to reporters questions after batting practice and before his teams game against the St. Paul Saints at Fifth Third Stadium in Toledo, Ohio on August 24, 2021.

The plan was for Greene to board an Arizona-bound plane immediately after the Triple-A season ended Oct. 3. The Tigers wanted him to arrive three or four days ahead of his report date for the Arizona Fall League, where he was supposed to play for the Salt River Rafters. (The AFL season begins Oct. 13 and wraps up with the AFL Championship Game on Nov. 20.)

After the concussion, the Tigers told Greene to go home and rest his body, before showing up in Lakeland, Florida — home of the organization's spring training complex — for further tests. Greene still expected to compete for the Rafters until Sunday, when the Tigers told him they removed him from the AFL roster.

2021 GRADES: Tigers' surprising pitching, coaching outshine lousy defense

MONARREZ: Tigers fans bring different type of pressure with playoff hopes

Outfielder Eric De La Rosa replaced Greene on the Rafters' roster, which also includes Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson, shortstop Ryan Kreidler and right-handers Chavez Fernandez, Wilmer Flores, Zack Hess and Garrett Hill.

De La Rosa, 24, played 104 games this season for Low-A Lakeland (16), High-A West Michigan (59) and Double-A Erie (29). He hit .273 with seven triples, eight home runs, 50 RBIs, 37 walks and 124 strikeouts, along with 34 stolen bases. The Tigers selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 draft from Grossmont College.

On Monday, Greene drove to Lakeland.

He will complete concussion protocol testing throughout the week with members of the Tigers' training staff. Once Greene makes a full recovery, he will begin his offseason. The Tigers pulled him from the AFL roster because they didn't want to rush him back into competition, especially not after he played a career-high 124 games this season in the minor leagues.

PROSPECTS: Tigers sending seven prospects to Arizona Fall League, including Torkelson

MANAGER FIRED: Tigers fire Triple-A manager Tom Prince. What about others in the minors?

Greene is the No. 2 prospect in the farm system, according to MLB Pipeline, and was named the Tigers' minor league player of the year. He will get a chance to make the 2022 Opening Day roster, possibly as the team's starting center fielder, but needs to perform well in spring training.

Greene hit .301 with eight triples, 24 home runs, 84 RBIs, 63 walks and 153 strikeouts across 124 games for the Double-A Erie (84 games) and Toledo (40 games). At the Triple-A level, he shined with a .308 batting average, eight homers, 30 RBIs, 22 walks and 51 strikeouts.

The Tigers drafted Greene No. 5 overall in 2019 out of Paul J. Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida.

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 remove Riley Greene from Arizona Fall League