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Tigers place budding star Riley Greene on the IL with stress fracture in leg

The former top-five pick was in the midst of a breakout season, with a 1.008 OPS in the month of May.

Riley Greene of the Detroit Tigers bats during the game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on May 29, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. The Rangers defeated the Tigers 5-0. Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Very tough news for the Detroit Tigers, as arguably the biggest bright spot in the team’s surprisingly competitive start will be on the shelf for a while. A day after Riley Greene made an early exit against the Texas Rangers with an apparent leg injury, the Tigers have placed their young outfielder on the 10-day IL with a stress fracture of his left fibula.

There’s not yet a timetable for his return, as the team will have to see how he responds after presumably at least a couple weeks of rest. (Although stress fractures — the technical term for a small crack in a bone — typically don’t require surgery.)

Greene apparently suffered the injury in the first inning on Tuesday, but he remained in the game until the third — when he was noticeably wincing while tracking down a fly ball in center field.

That obviously raised the alarms among the Tigers’ coaching staff, who pulled Greene after he got back to the dugout.

This is a huge blow to a Detroit team that entered Wednesday a surprising 25-28 and second place in the weak AL Central. Greene’s emergence had been probably the single biggest reason why, with the former top-five pick finally starting to live up to the incredible prospect hype he garnered while tearing up the Minor Leagues in 2021. The 22-year-old had been on a tear of late, with a .365/.435/.573 line for the month of May including four homers and three steals.

Just hours before Greene went down, the Tigers acquired Jake Marisnick from the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations, and he’ll likely be thrust into a much larger role now as someone who can play center field on a daily basis. Detroit isn’t overflowing with other outfield options, especially with Matt Vierling and Kerry Carpenter also on the IL right now. Internally the two most likely options are Parker Meadows and Justyn Henry-Malloy, each of whom has flashed promise down in Triple-A.