DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers have optioned struggling outfielder JaCoby Jones to Triple-A Toledo.
The team announced the move late Sunday after the Tigers landed in Detroit following a six-game road trip.
The Tigers recalled outfielder Victor Reyes to take Jones’ spot on the roster.
Jones, 29, had been mired in a season-long slump that went all the way back to spring training.
Jones was hitting just .170 with a .460 OPS in 105 plate appearances this season. Even worse, he had five walks and a whopping 42 strikeouts. He was called out on strikes with the bases loaded in the first inning on Sunday afternoon in what might have been the final straw for the Tigers.
Reyes, 26, was optioned to Toledo on May 8 when Nomar Mazara returned from the injured list.
He made the most of his two weeks in Toledo, hitting .391 with four doubles and a home run in 56 plate appearances with the Mud Hens.
Reyes hit just .143 (9-for-63) in his earlier stint with the Tigers, a batting average that was dragged down by an unusually low .182 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Reyes’ BABIP was .384 in 2019 and .340 in 2020, suggesting he’s due for an increase.
“He was the odd man out,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said when Reyes was sent down. “We’ll see how long this lasts. We may not keep this configuration on the roster the entire time. I think he’s a big-leaguer.”
The Tigers tried to exercise patience with Jones, who was one of the club’s most productive hitters in the latter half of 2019 and during the shortened 2020 season.
But his lack of progress at the plate, especially against left-handed pitching, wasn’t getting any better. Jones will continue to earn his $2.65 million salary with the Mud Hens.
The Tigers have three outfielders on the roster in addition to Reyes: Robbie Grossman, Nomar Mazara and Akil Baddoo.
Baddoo and Mazara both bat left-handed and have struggled this year against left-handed pitching.
Reyes could see some time in center field against lefties. Backup catcher Eric Haase has also twice started in left field against southpaws.
TIGERS’ 40-MAN ROSTER (40)
Players in bold are on the 26-man active roster.
Left-handed pitchers (7): Tyler Alexander, Matthew Boyd, Derek Holland*, Daniel Norris, Tarik Skubal, Gregory Soto, Joey Wentz**.
Right-handed pitchers (14): Beau Burrows, Jose Cisnero, Alex Faedo**, Michael Fulmer, Kyle Funkhouser, Bryan Garcia, Rony Garcia, Joe Jimenez, Alex Lange, Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Erasmo Ramirez*, Spencer Turnbull, Jose Ureña.
Catchers (4): Grayson Greiner*, Eric Haase, Wilson Ramos, Jake Rogers.
Infielders (8): Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, Harold Castro, Willi Castro, Niko Goodrum, Isaac Paredes, Jonathan Schoop, Zack Short.
Outfielders (7): Akil Baddoo, Daz Cameron, Robbie Grossman, Derek Hill, JaCoby Jones, Nomar Mazara, Victor Reyes.
* on the 10-day Major League injured list
** on the 7-day minor-league injured list
Right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran (right shoulder strain) is on the 60-day injured list, which removes him from the 40-man roster .