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Tigers' Austin Meadows 'Struggling' with Mental Health, Not Ready to Return to Field

Adam WellsSeptember 2, 2022

David Berding/Getty Images

Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows discussed his mental health on Friday.

In a post on Twitter, the 2019 All-Star wrote he has been privately working with "a great team of professionals" to get help and he's been back in the clubhouse but is "still not ready to return to the field."

Austin Meadows @austin_meadows

<a href="https://t.co/LyO56HxQa3">pic.twitter.com/LyO56HxQa3</a>

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch praised Meadows for discussing his mental health publicly when speaking to reporters on Friday.

"I commend him for doing it and am very proud of him," Hinch said. "It's not easy as an athlete, as a competitor, to admit when you need help. ... I feel good about the path he's on."

Hinch added Meadows won't play again in 2022.

This has been an eventful season for Meadows, though certainly not in ways he was expecting. He missed five games in a nine-day span in May because of an illness and inner-ear infection that was causing him to experience dizziness.

The Tigers placed Meadows on the injured list on May 16 after he was diagnosed with vertigo. The former first-round draft pick returned to the lineup on June 7. He appeared in eight straight games but tested positive for COVID-19 prior to a June 17 game against the Texas Rangers.

After clearing COVID protocols, Meadows was transferred to the 10-day injured list on June 28 with strains in his left and right Achilles. His rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo ended after two games when he continued experiencing soreness related to the injuries.

Meadows had a second rehab assignment at Toledo starting on Aug. 10. He appeared in four games before being recalled because he didn't feel ready to compete at the MLB level.

The 27-year-old was traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to Detroit on April 4, three days before the start of the regular season. He hit .250/.347/.328 with eight extra-base hits and 11 RBI in 128 at-bats through 36 games for the Tigers in 2022.

Prior to joining the Tigers, Meadows was a very productive player for the Rays. The Georgia native finished in the top 20 of American League MVP voting in 2019 and 2021. He hit 27 homers and drove in a career-high 106 runs last year.

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