Now, Greene is healthy.
The Tigers announced they’re calling him up Saturday for his MLB debut against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. He will be the team’s full-time center fielder.
“We would love for him to come up and be an immediate spark,” manager A.J. Hinch said Friday. “I do think it’s going to bring energy to the clubhouse. Everybody’s been anticipating his arrival, and I’ve never seen a club be more impacted by a young player’s injury than when Riley got hurt. It was a gut punch to the entire team. That speaks to how much credibility Riley gained in our clubhouse by how much energy he has, how much he works and the vibe around him.”
Greene, drafted No. 5 overall in 2019, is the No. 2 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.
The 21-year-old joins fellow top prospect Spencer Torkelson, who secured his spot on the Opening Day roster the same day the Tigers learned Greene had fractured his foot and would be sidelined for months.
Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, is hitting .181 with four home runs, 23 walks and 55 strikeouts in 57 games. Despite his struggles on offense, he has displayed above-average defense at first base.
Torkelson’s results are an example of MLB’s challenges for young players across the league.
“Everybody has a lot of challenges when they get called up, and we’re seeing it firsthand by some really exceptional players,” Hinch said. “I wish, for all of us, we could fast forward to two, three, four years from now and look back at these guys and laugh about how much they’ve struggled. … The ability of these young kids to adjust at this level is going to be seen over time.”
The Tigers need help offensively, averaging an MLB-worst 2.68 runs per game, but Greene isn’t expected to solve all the problems by himself. Several veteran players, especially shortstop Javier Báez, must boost their production.
Still, Greene has hit for his entire pro career.
He had a career .291 batting average in the minor leagues. He clobbered 25 doubles, eight triples and 24 home runs, while hitting .301, in 124 games last season for Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.
Miguel Cabrera, on his way to the Hall of Fame, called…