- Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario is slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow, manager Ron Gardenhire told the Detroit Free Press’ Anthony Fenech (Twitter link) and other reporters. The young third baseman was posting some big numbers (five homers, .272/.359/.497 in 167 PA) before being sidelined with tendinitis in his left wrist. Candelario’s was placed on the DL on May 14, so it seems like he won’t miss much or maybe even any time beyond the 10-day minimum absence.
- In more troubling injury news for the Tigers, southpaw Matthew Boyd was forced to leave his start after four innings tonight due to what the club described as an oblique spasm. This is a lesser injury than a strain, though obviously Detroit wasn’t taking any chances with the young left-hander. Boyd has delivered some good results with a 3.12 ERA over 52 innings, though advanced metrics indicate some batted-ball luck (.248 BABIP) and Boyd isn’t generating many grounders (32.9% ground ball rate) or strikeouts (7.1 K/9).
- The Tigers announced the purchase of left-hander Kevin Chapman’s contract from the independent Atlantic League’s New Britain Bees. Chapman has been assigned to Triple-A. The southpaw posted a 4.09 ERA over 55 relief innings for the Astros in 2013-16, and spent last season in the Braves’ and Twins’ farm systems. The Tigers are short on left-handed relievers both in the majors and upper minors, so there seems to be an opportunity for Chapman to earn a spot back to the big leagues.
- Southpaw Jairo Labourt has been released by the Tigers, as Evan Woodberry of MLive.com covers on Twitter. Despite being a popular waiver wire target over the offseason, the 24-year-old lefty has not been in good enough form even to join an affiliate to this point. The Tigers originally acquired him in the 2015 David Price swap.
- Even prior to Francisco Liriano’s gem of a start against the Mariners today, the Tigers have been getting trade inquiries about the veteran lefty, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link). After signing a one-year, $4MM deal with Detroit last winter, Liriano earned a job in the rotation and now has a 3.42 ERA, 6.32 K/9, and 45.1% grounder rate through 52 2/3 innings. It’s a nice improvement on paper from the struggles Liriano endured as a starter in 2017 and much of 2016, though there are some red flags — the lack of strikeouts, a 9.7% swinging strike rate, a 4.44 BB/9, and a .214 BABIP. Interested teams could be looking at acquiring Liriano to work out of the bullpen, as the Astros did when they acquired the southpaw in a deadline trade with the Blue Jays last year. Regardless, it looks like the Tigers should be able to score a decent prospect for their investment in Liriano in the offseason.
The Braves have claimed lefty Chad Bell off waivers from the Tigers, per announcements from the teams. He had been designated for assignment recently by the Tigers.
Bell, 29, has been knocked around in 69 2/3 MLB innings over the past two seasons. He has worked mostly as a reliever in the majors but has started for the most part in the minors. Odds are he’ll be seen as a lefty specialist or long relief possibility in Atlanta. Bell will presumably begin his tenure there on optional assignment.
The Tigers have placed third baseman Jeimer Candelario on the 10-day disabled list, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Candelario had previously undergone an MRI on his left wrist, though that exam reportedly came back clear of any structural damage. Rather, he’s been placed on the DL due to tendinitis in that ailing left wrist, per Jason Beck of MLB.com (on Twitter).
It would appear that prospect Dawel Lugo, the centerpiece of last July’s J.D. Martinez trade, has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take his spot on the active roster, as Fenech adds that Lugo’s name is on the lineup card.
[Related: Detroit Tigers depth chart]
Candelario, 24, has been one of the bright spots for the rebuilding Tigers in 2018. Acquired in last summer’s trade that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs, the switch-hitting third baseman is hitting .272/.359/.497 with five homers, 12 doubles and three triples through 167 plate appearances as Detroit’s everyday third baseman.
Lugo, 23, was acquired alongside Sergio Alcantara and Jose King from the Diamondbacks in exchange for the final couple months of control over Martinez. It was viewed as a largely underwhelming return for one of the game’s top sluggers, even if he was a rental, and Lugo’s play in Toledo thus far hasn’t exactly dispelled that notion. While he’s hitting .284 on the season, that solid average comes with just a .287 on-base percentage and a .369 slugging percentage. Lugo has walked just once in 143 plate appearances against 20 strikeouts, and he’s collected just nine extra-base hits — one homer, one triple and seven doubles.
Entering the season, MLB.com ranked Lugo 12th among Tigers farmhands, noting that the organization’s hope is that Lugo could be an everyday second baseman but adding that he may settle in as a bat-first utility option. Lugo has played lined up primarily at second base this season, but he has more than 1700 innings of action at the hot corner in his minor league career, so he could certainly step in at the hot corner in place of Candelario while he is sidelined.
- Southpaw James Russell was released by the Tigers, Eddy reports. The 32-year-old Russell, a fixture in the Cubs’ bullpen for six seasons, hasn’t appeared in the Majors since an unsuccessful 2016 stint with the Phillies. He spent the 2017 season pitching in the Mexican League, where he performed quite well, but tossed just three innings and allowed five runs with the Tigers’ top affiliate in 2018 before his release.
- The previously reported MRI on Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario’s left wrist came back clean, according to the 24-year-old (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com). Candelario will “try to rehab and strengthen it,” Beck writes. He was out of the lineup for the Tigers’ game against the Mariners on Sunday, though manager Ron Gardenhire said afterward that “everything’s going to be fine” (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter).
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano departed in the third inning Sunday after taking a pitch off the right hand from Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, Greg Johns of MLB.com was among those to report. Seattle’s left to hope this isn’t a serious injury for Cano, who has slashed a robust .287/.381/.441 over the first 168 plate appearances of his age-35 campaign. Thanks in part to Cano’s efforts, the Mariners have jumped out to an encouraging 22-16 start as they attempt to break a league-worst 16-year playoff drought. The club replaced Cano on Sunday with utilityman Andrew Romine.
- Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario was out of the starting lineup Sunday with a left wrist problem. The issue has bothered the 24-year-old “off and on” throughout his career, notes MLB.com’s Jason Beck, who adds that Candelario will undergo an MRI (Twitter links). Despite his balky wrist, the switch-hitting Candelario has gotten off to a terrific start this year with a .272/.359/.497 line and five home runs in 167 trips to the plate. Meanwhile, teammate Jordan Zimmermann won’t come off the disabled list to make his scheduled start Wednesday, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com tweets. The right-hander isn’t ready to return from the shoulder impingement that shelved him earlier this week.
- Veteran reliever Louis Coleman is back in the majors after the Tigers selected his contract Saturday, though he may not be in this position if not for his college coach, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com relays. A “frustrated” Coleman was unable to find a job in the offseason until he spoke with Paul Mainieri, whom he played under at LSU, a couple weeks before spring training began. Mainieri then called his friend, Tigers general manager Al Avila, who signed Coleman to a minors pact Feb. 23. “I guess they had an opening (in spring training), I don’t know. But if it wasn’t for coach and Al, I don’t know if we’d be standing here,” said the 32-year-old Coleman, who recorded a 2.40 ERA in 15 Triple-A innings before his promotion.
J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently answered a question from a Twitter fan about undrafted free agents in MLB. It turns out that there were eight undrafted free agents on MLB rosters at the start of the year, and all eight of them were right-handed pitchers. Unlike football, where there are plenty of UDFA success stories, it’s exceedingly rare for a UDFA to produce significantly at the MLB level. Some outliers include Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. Of the UDFA’s currently in the majors on opening day, Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez (23 years old) and Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge (28) are the only players below the age of 30. There are a few more fun facts in Cooper’s piece, making it well worth a full read.
Other items of note as the Tigers and Mariners prepare for a remarkably cold double-header…
- The Blue Jays announced earlier today that they’ve activated infielder Gio Urshela and optioned outfielder Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Urshela, 26, was recently acquired for cash (or a player to be named later) after the Indians designated him for assignment earlier this month; he’d been on the DL since the start of the season. While acclaimed as somewhat of a defensive wizard, Urshela carries an anemic bat and has posted a wRC+ of just 57 throughout the course of his major-league career.
- In other Blue Jays news, shortstop Aledmys Diaz has begun throwing, says Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. He’s expected to begin hitting later this week. Diaz left last Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle, but it doesn’t appear as though the injury will keep him sidelined for much longer than the ten-day minimum at this point. Diaz was acquired from the Cardinals this offseason in exchange for outfielder J.B. Woodman; the shortstop has hit .216/.273/.431 so far with his new club.