3:12PM: Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said that Fulmer would indeed be taking Teheran’s rotation spot, and that it seems like Teheran will miss significant time on the injured list. (MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery was among those to report the news.)
11:51AM: The Tigers announced that righty Julio Teheran has been placed on the 10-day IL (retroactive to April 7) with a right shoulder strain. Right-hander Alex Lange has been called up from the team’s taxi squad and is set to make his first Major League appearance.
Teheran was scheduled to start last night’s game against the Indians but developed tightness in his right triceps while warming up in the bullpen during the top of the first inning, leading to a very late scratch. With Teheran’s injury now defined as a shoulder strain, it isn’t a good sign for a pitcher who has been very durable over his 11 Major League seasons.
After a rough 2020 with the Angels, Teheran signed a minor league deal with Detroit that became guaranteed (at a $3MM salary) once the Tigers added the veteran right-hander to their Opening Day roster. His first start on April 3 was a successful one, as Teheran tossed five innings of one-run ball and picked up the win in the Tigers’ 5-2 victory over Cleveland.
Michael Fulmer now seems like the logical candidate to take Teheran’s spot in the rotation. The 2016 AL Rookie Of The Year began the season as something of a swingman reliever as Fulmer continues to try and rebuild his career after multiple arm injuries. Tommy John surgery shelved Fulmer for all of 2019, and he posted an 8.78 ERA over 27 2/3 innings in 2020.
Lange has spent much of his minor league career as a starter, but the Tigers have deployed him as a reliever since acquiring him from the Cubs as part of the Nick Castellanos trade in July 2019. Lange was selected 30th overall by the Cubs in the 2017 draft, and the 25-year-old righty has a 4.54 ERA over 232 minor league innings. He’ll be making the jump to the big leagues without any Triple-A experience, though Lange did pitch at Detroit’s alternate training site last season in lieu of any minor league ball. MLB Pipeline ranks Lange 29th in their list of the Tigers’ top-30 prospects, with a couple of plus pitches — a 60-grade curveball, and a 55-grade fastball that hit the 97mph plateau this year at Spring Training.