ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene has been given the green light to return after throwing off a mound for three days in a row.
Greene will be activated from the 10-day disabled list before Friday’s series opener against the Houston Astros, the team announced Wednesday.
His expected activation means he was on the shelf for the minimum 10 days. To make room for him, the Tigers optioned right-hander Victor Alcantara to Triple-A Toledo.
“I feel good,” Greene said before Wednesday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Greene threw in front of pitching coach Rick Anderson, head trainer Doug Teter and assorted teammates during the Rays series. He will assume the closer role, giving the Tigers’ bullpen some much-needed depth in the back-end.
Greene received an MRI scan in Dallas last week, and it showed no structural damage. He had feared he was suffering from another aneurysm in his shoulder, a condition that led to surgery in 2016.
“I was domed up in my own head for more than a week that I had another aneurysm, just because my shoulder didn’t feel great,” he said. “My arm just kind of felt fatigued, so that’s all I could think about.”
Because Greene wasn’t used much during the Tigers’ 11-game losing streak — including a stretch of eight days — he was unable to test his arm to see exactly what was wrong. When he returned and the soreness continued, his performance suffered — perhaps because he feared something serious was wrong.
“Then I went out there in Toronto and I threw and I didn’t feel terrible with my arm, but I didn’t feel great,” he said. “My velocity wasn’t where it had been earlier in the season, so those two things combined with what I had been thinking, I basically panicked and said, ‘I gotta go figure out if I got an aneurysm or not,’ because I’m out here trying to get guys out but I’m more worried.
“If I’m not focusing on getting a guy out then I’m not helping the team, so I have to figure out what’s wrong.”
Greene now has a clean bill of health and the mental peace to go with it. He is 16-for-19 on save opportunities this season and before his DL stint had garnered the most interest of any Tigers player thought to be on the trading block.
He likely will be watched closely by contenders this weekend and in the final two weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, but given the number of relief arms available on the market, he could stay with the Tigers. He is under team control for two more seasons.
The Tigers have talked to Greene about scaling back his pre-game throwing routine.
“Obviously, I’m on the DL for a reason,” he said. “Though what I do every day is what I did every day last year and it worked for me, so that’s why I took it into this year.
“Having said that, I’ve only been a reliever for two years of my life, so I’m still figuring out how it all works and I have to make some adjustments.”
Contact Anthony Fenech: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.