Tigers fans are holding their collective breaths as top prospect Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, exited last night’s Double-A start with an apparent injury (link via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com). After a third-inning pitch — a fastball that was clocked at 85-86 mph, per Tom Reisenweber of the Erie Times-News (Twitter link) — catcher Kade Scivicque went to the mound and called out the training staff and skipper Mike Rabelo. Mize departed the game at that point. There’s been no formal update on his condition, though Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle tweets that Mize didn’t have his elbow or shoulder wrapped upon leaving the clubhouse and lifted his own bags onto the team’s bus — none of which seem indicative of a major injury. Presumably, the Tigers will have further updates on Mize in the near future.
Here’s more from the division…
- The Indians are facing an 11-game deficit in the AL Central, and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi suggests that the team won’t act as an aggressive buyer this summer unless it feels there’s a real chance at winning the division. That’s become increasingly clear in recent weeks. As the gap in the AL Central has grown, so too have rumors about the potential availability of coveted pitchers such as Trevor Bauer (controlled through 2020) and Brad Hand (signed through 2021). Morosi notes that Cleveland would be “poised” to listen to offers on that pair, as well as the resurgent Carlos Santana, barring a sudden climb back into the division race. Santana is hitting .286/.406/.530 with 14 homers and more walks (46) than strikeouts (45) through 281 plate appearances in his return to Cleveland. He’s earning $17MM in 2019 and$17.5MM in 2020, though the Mariners are on the hook for $5MM of the salary still owed to him. Santana’s contract also contains a $17.5MM club option, but that’ll be his age-35 campaign.
- Twins righty Michael Pineda used his recent stint on the injured list to focus on the release point on his slider, he tells Dan Hayes of The Athletic (subscription required). “I’m focusing especially on my release point and finishing my pitches, especially my slider, because this is my pitch for swings and misses,” said Pineda. “I love my slider.” As Hayes observes, Pineda’s rediscovered confidence in the pitch was apparent. He threw just five sliders in his final start prior to landing on the injured list before uncorking 26 sliders in yesterday’s win over the Mariners. Manager Rocco Baldelli and pitching coach Wes Johnson both feel that Pineda looked more impressive yesterday, and Johnson spoke of his satisfaction with the incremental improvements in Pineda’s progression back from 2017 Tommy John surgery and 2018 knee surgery. Notably, the right-hander’s velocity was up a couple miles per hour yesterday as well. A revitalized Pineda would only add another weapon to an already strong Twins club. Pineda has a 5.04 ERA in 69 2/3 innings but yielded just one run in 5 2/3 frames on Thursday.