Detroit Tigers right-handed starter Jose Ureña has been moved to the 10-day injured list, retroactive to May 26, with a right forearm strain. Despite blanking Cleveland in his start on Wednesday for 5 2⁄3 innings, Ureña left the game with what was initially described as cramping in the forearm of his throwing arm near the wrist. To date, Ureña has been a stabilizing force in the rotation, posting a 4.14 ERA and 3.82 FIP across 10 starts.
In his place, instead of a pitcher, the Tigers have promoted utility infielder Zack Short from Triple-A Toledo. Short was acquired for outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Chicago Cubs in 2020. A good defender, capable of playing shortstop as well as second and third base, Short is off to a good start in this, his second full season at the Triple-A level. He has a good eye for the strikezone and is currently holding a 20.3 percent walk rate for the Mud Hens with modest power numbers. Short was previously up for two games in late April, so his option for the year was already spent.
The Tigers can probably handle Ureña’s scheduled Memorial Day start in Milwaukee with a bullpen day. Beyond that, the rotation should be on schedule assuming Ureña can return next Sunday, June 6, to start against the Chicago White Sox. So the rotation should be fine, but they may choose to swap a pitcher in for Short if the bullpen gets taxed. The Tigers do have an unusual Wednesday off day, and will also have Monday, June 7 off as well.
The tricky part is where Short is going to play. Willi Castro’s defense issues, combined with a disastrous start at the plate, have put him on the outside looking in over the past few weeks, but the Tigers have kept him on the 26-man roster anyway. Niko Goodrum and Harold Castro have both gotten looks in center field, so expect to see Short get a few looks at the shortstop position while he’s up, but it’s essentially a roster with four utilitymen at the moment. Watching how they’re deployed by A.J. Hinch should be rather interesting.
As for Ureña, he didn’t seem concerned that this would be a long term stay on the injured list in his postgame interview. We’ll see how that plays out, but with top pitching prospect Matt Manning struggling with the jump to Triple-A, there are no good options for a starting pitcher to bridge the gap. Look for Tyler Alexander to take the spot start on Monday in Milwaukee. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.