Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows, on the injured list because of Achilles tendinitis, will not return to the field this year as he works on his mental health.
It has been a challenging year for the 27-year-old, who has dealt with vertigo then contracted COVID-19 before his Achilles issues. He has played just 36 games this season and has not been on the field since June 15.
“What I have told very few people is that I also have been struggling with my mental health in a way that has extended my time away from the game that I love so much,” Meadows said in a statement posted to social media. “I’ve been dealing with this privately with a great team of professionals, but I need to continue to put in the hard work off the field towards feeling mentally healthy.”
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch later confirmed Meadows does not plan to return to the field this season.
“I commend him for doing it and am very proud of him,” Hinch told reporters. “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.”
Meadows was batting .250 but did not have a home run in his brief run of games this season. He hit 27 home runs in 2021 and 33 in 2019, getting MVP consideration in both seasons.
In 411 games over five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2018), Tampa Bay Rays (2018-21) and Tigers, Meadows is a .259 hitter with 70 home runs and 236 RBIs. He was an All-Star with the Rays in 2019.
Meadows wrote Friday that he is back with the team, in the clubhouse each day, and he plans to be with his teammates through the end of the season.
“I am so grateful for my family, my teammates and the Tigers organization for supporting me through this,” Meadows said. “I can’t do this alone, and I hope in sharing my experience I can touch at least one person who might be going through their own struggles and encourage them to reach out to someone for help.”
–Field Level Media
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