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Tarik Skubal, Julio Teheran earn spots on Tigers’ Opening Day roster

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A.J. Hinch confirmed that both pitchers will be on the active roster on Wednesday.

Detroit Tigers v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

With only a week of spring training remaining, the Detroit Tigers final roster decisions will be rolling in fast and furious. On Wednesday, manager A.J. Hinch confirmed two starting pitchers had made the Opening Day roster. Left-hander Tarik Skubal, and right-hander Julio Teheran were both informed that they’ll head north with the major league club.

Teheran has been a bit of a revelation in camp after a couple of down seasons. Offseason rehabilitation work helped strengthen his throwing shoulder and the 30-year-old veteran command artist has benefitted with a couple extra ticks on his fastball. Teheran reportedly had some back pain in his outing on Sunday, limiting his workload, but apparently this was only a minor setback as he’s back on schedule for his next start.

Teheran was signed on a minor league deal, but will earn three million dollars for making the major league roster. He also has a potential million dollar bonus available to him should he manage 20 starts for the Tigers this season. Spencer Turnbull has been moved to the IL due to COVID issues to open a temporary spot for Teheran, with a long-term move required when Turnbull returns to duty.

As for Skubal, the rookie flashed outstanding stuff in his major league debut in 2020. Still rookie eligible this season, the big lefty has been erratic at times in camp, but continues to show outstanding power stuff. Skubal has been inefficient due to inconsistent fastball command, but has proven extremely hard to square up anyway. He’s also shown a knack for making the big pitch to get himself out of trouble. The issue? He’s been in a fair amount of self-generated trouble this spring. The Tigers may not get very efficient outings from Skubal until his command takes another step, but the fastball is just a dominant offering. Backed up by a slider, new splitter, and 12-6 curveball which have all flashed above average this spring, and there is a lot to like even if patience will be required for the time being.

The bullpen has also come into focus, as Hinch also informed relievers Ian Krol and Erasmo Ramirez that they’ll start the year in the minor leagues with a chance for a callup as ineffectiveness or attrition take their toll on the relief corps. Both Krol and Ramirez have pitched well this spring, with Krol in particular holding a six inning scoreless streak. The problem for Krol is the fact that the Tigers already appear due to take four lefties in the bullpen, as Derek Holland has also been extremely impressive. The Tigers are a little weaker in terms of right-handed relief, so the odds of Ramirez getting a look at some point still seem pretty good.