The Tigers were dealt a couple scares in the rotation last week, with righties Casey Mize and Matt Manning both landing on the injured list due to arm issues. Mize suffered an MCL sprain in his throwing elbow, an ominous-sounding injury that seemed as if it could result in a long absence. There’s still not much clarity on his timetable for return, but the most recent news on the 24-year-old has been promising.
In an appearance on MLB Network Radio yesterday, manager A.J. Hinch said initial results indicated they’d “avoided any sort of catastrophic occurrence” (relayed by Jason Beck of MLB.com). Mize himself addressed the matter this afternoon, saying he “(feels) good” because he’s “not having surgery and … going to pitch again soon” (via Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press).
That Mize appears to have avoided a serious injury is obviously fantastic news for the club. The former first overall pick is an integral part of the organization’s present and future. That’s also true of Manning, himself a former top ten draftee and highly-regarded prospect. The 6’6″ hurler left his start over the weekend with shoulder discomfort. Detroit placed him on the injured list due to inflammation this afternoon, but Hinch didn’t sound particularly concerned. The manager said Manning is hoping to resume throwing as soon as this weekend (Beck link), suggesting his stay on the IL could be brief.
Even if Manning returns in short order, the Tigers will be down a couple starters through an ongoing stretch of six consecutive games without an off-day. In response, Detroit announced tonight they’re recalling veteran Michael Pineda to make his season debut tomorrow afternoon against the Yankees. Signed to a $5.5MM guarantee in Spring Training, Pineda consented to be optioned to open the year after being delayed in reporting to camp by visa issues.
The hope had been for the big righty to start three games with Triple-A Toledo before being called up, but he’ll be pressed into action after two minor league appearances by the injuries to Mize and Manning. Now that he’s in the majors again, Pineda figures to take the ball every fifth day as a regular member of the rotation. Once Mize and Manning return, Tyler Alexander would likely be bumped into a long relief role — assuming the club avoids intervening injuries.