We’re less than a week from Opening Day, and A.J. Hinch and the Detroit Tigers have announced more roster pieces as the 26-man roster begins to coalesce. Two days after naming Tarik Skubal and Julio Teheran to the rotation, Hinch has informed Casey Mize he will be joining them in the starting rotation as well. Additionally, Michael Fulmer will make the team and work out of the bullpen for now, as will non-roster invitee Derek Holland, who has also made the team, per reports.
#Tigers right-hander Casey Mize has made the MLB roster, manager AJ Hinch says. He will be in the starting rotation.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) March 26, 2021
Righty Michael Fulmer will make the team and pitch out of the bullpen.
Mize’s spot in the rotation was uncertain due to a rough spring where he struggled to command his pitches, and the uncertainty of needing five or six starters on April 1. However, after a solid outing last night and with Spencer Turnbull on the injured list, Mize has convinced Hinch that he deserves to be in the big leagues. The former first overall pick has had some abysmal starts recently, but his nine-strikeout performance on Thursday helped cement his spot in Detroit, giving him a chance to immediately build up from last year’s troublesome debut.
Also impressing on Thursday was Fulmer, who tossed four innings and struck out seven. His fastball velocity sat at 95 miles per hour and he showed life on all his pitches. He will work out of the bullpen for Hinch, who said he likes what the move to relief has done for the right-hander.
A.J. Hinch on Michael Fulmer: "I think we found something with him pitching with conviction out of the pen. I don't think days starting are over. He's likely to start games for us at some point. But I’m not necessarily gonna wait for 3- or 4-inning stints to pitch him ..." https://t.co/K8UBxu7zD3— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 26, 2021
Earning a spot in the bullpen for now was veteran lefty Derek Holland, whom the Tigers signed to a minor league deal over the winter. Betting on himself after two dreadful years in the NL, the longtime Texas Rangers southpaw has been a revelation this spring. In his eight innings of relief work, he has allowed no runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out thirteen. That was more than enough to lead Hinch to add Holland to his bullpen, where he will used in a variety of roles.
Hinch on Derek Holland: "I think rewarding him with a roster spot was one of the bigger no-brainers of guys we were able to add to to the organization."— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 26, 2021
Said Holland could pitch long or short, possibly in leverage situations. Won't be slotted into one role.
With the assumption that José Ureña will take a spot in the rotation after signing a major league deal this winter, this should set the Tigers’ Opening Day rotation. The bullpen is also rounding into shape as Fulmer and Holland will join likely holdovers Daniel Norris, Jose Cisnero, Buck Farmer, and Gregory Soto. With only a few days left in camp, expect more roster decisions to come over the weekend.