'It's tough': Hand surgery could keep Tigers' Troy Stokes Jr. out entire season
Detroit — When the Tigers released their 60-man player pool preceding Summer Camp, one notable name left off was outfielder Troy Stokes Jr.
The Tigers added Stokes last fall after he was designated for assignment from the Milwaukee Brewers’ system. Following an impressive early spring training in Lakeland, he looked to be a player the Tigers wanted to take a closer look at when summer workouts resumed.
Stokes, though, suffered a hand injury that took him out of the Tigers’ plans. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said it was the hamate bone that sidelined Stokes and required surgery, which was a disappointment for a young player trying to make his mark with a new team.
“It’s tough. I mean, you’re working out and something like that happens — you break the hamate bone," Gardenhire said Friday. "That’s all part of baseball when you’re working, and he went through that, and then he ends up hurting his hand and has the surgery on it too. It's tough because the kid had made a good impression on us and his name, when we started talking about people we’d like to see come in this camp and have an opportunity, he was one of them.
“But we all know injuries are part of it, unfortunate as it may be, and he’s going to have to battle back from that.”
Stokes, 24, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Brewers in 2014, showed some power in 22 at-bats in Lakeland, with five doubles among his six hits in 11 games.
In 2018 at Double-A Biloxi, Stokes had 19 home runs and 23 doubles, and last season at Triple-A San Antonio he had nine home runs and 22 doubles.
Gardenhire said Stokes could miss the entire season in recovery.
“I don’t know about (missing the whole year) but obviously, when you break a bone, you end up having a surgery to repair it. It’s not the easiest thing, plus just coming off the hamate bone, he was doing really well,” Gardenhire said. “But the guess is — I’m not going to close the door on it — is that it’s going to be hard for him to get through this injury and them fixing his hand and then having enough time to really get back.”
Gardenhire added: "The (doctors) are not specific on how many months it's gonna take or whatever. But when you're talking about our season, and then trying to come back from an injury and you're looking at more than a month (to rehab) and you start breaking it down it's gonna be tough."
The Tigers looked to have their outfield set with Christin Stewart, JaCoby Jones and Victor Reyes as likely starters, and Cameron Maybin, Travis Demeritte and Daz Cameron as backups.
Stokes would have been another option — and depending on how fast he recovers, he still could be.