Well, for a month or so, the Detroit Tigers have had it going on the pitching side. The offense has improved, but remains mediocre at best, but the rotation has been pretty strong, and the addition of Michael Fulmer as a full-time reliever really tied the backend of the bullpen together.
All that is now set to be severely tested by injuries.
First, the Tigers have lost Spencer Turnbull for at least 10 days following his early exit Friday night with a forearm strain. Now it appears that Michael Fulmer may be bound for an IL stint as well. The big right-hander, in his first full year since Tommy John and right meniscus surgery, hasn’t pitched since last Sunday for reasons manager A.J. Hinch described as fatigue.
The Tigers brought back RHP Bryan Garcia, only recently sent down to Toledo, in Turnbull’s place, knowing they needed some extra relief help. Garcia only made one appearance with the Toledo Mud Hens, throwing 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings. He’s not much of a replacement for Fulmer, should he end up on the IL as well.
On Saturday, they also announced that RHP Jose Ureña will be reinstated from the 10-day IL to start on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. Infielder Zack Short has been returned to Toledo in exchange.
Obviously, it’s good to have Ureña back, particularly with Turnbull out, but as good as the Tigers pitching has been of late, it remains a pretty brittle unit. With Matt Manning struggling in Toledo, the starting options for a callup aren’t good. RHP Drew Hutchison, or possibly RHP Wily Peralta, both veterans, could make a spot start, but if this goes more than a week or two it’s liable to be pretty ugly. Neither of those two are currently on the 40-man roster, so a move might be required as well.
The Tigers could still consider trying Manning just for the sake of getting him some time working with pitching coach Chris Fetter, but it’s hard to imagine them doing that until the club’s top pitching prospect puts together a solid outing or three. For the moment, the best option may be long man Tyler Alexander.
Following today’s game, the Tigers optioned INF Zack Short to Triple A Toledo.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) June 5, 2021
Prior to tomorrow’s game, RHP José Ureña is scheduled to be reinstated from the 10-day injured list.
The Tigers have placed RHP Spencer Turnbull on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) June 5, 2021
RHP Bryan Garcia has been recalled from Triple A Toledo.
A.J. Hinch said he was told just before the game that Michael Fulmer was unavailable again.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 5, 2021
"We're going to have to consider making a move there," Hinch said. "It's been a long time and the fatigue is not resolved."