Notes: Avila giving Mize time; Maybin returns

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — Tigers general manager Al Avila hears the clamor to call up top pitching prospect Casey Mize from the alternate training site in Toledo. Even in a stadium without fans, it’s hard to miss.
Now, Avila says, is not the time, though, despite Mize’s dominant Summer Camp. He and

DETROIT — Tigers general manager Al Avila hears the clamor to call up top pitching prospect Casey Mize from the alternate training site in Toledo. Even in a stadium without fans, it’s hard to miss.

Now, Avila says, is not the time, though, despite Mize’s dominant Summer Camp. He and the rest of the Detroit’s highly touted pitching prospects need more work, Avila told MLB Network Radio, so they can be called up to stay.

“With Casey Mize, our whole thing was we need to get him more work,” Avila said Friday morning, in his first public remarks since the season started. “Last year, he had a very good year, but we had to shut him down early. We promoted him from [Class A Advanced] ball to Double-A ball. He did very well. Then we shut him down early, more just as a precaution than anything.”

Mize had three starts left when the Tigers shut him down around this point last year. The reasoning was not medical, nor was he on an innings limit. Leading up to that decision, Mize went 0-3 with a 7.09 ERA over his final six starts with Erie after returning from right shoulder fatigue.

“So we felt this year — obviously we had a shortened Spring Training, Summer Camp — was not the greatest way to prepare for a season, either,” Avila said. “And our main thing with Casey and really a lot of our young pitchers is we want to give them more time to build up pitch counts, build up innings, work on their repertoire and not just throw them in the fire in a shortened season and a shortened camp. For us, we want to err on the side of caution more so than anything and give them more time.”

Avila also cited the return of Michael Fulmer from Tommy John surgery and the opportunity Tyler Alexander earned to return to the rotation.

However, Avila suggested that Mize will make his Major League debut at some point this season, something he has stated previously.

“That’s been our five-man rotation at this point,” Avila said, in regard to Matthew Boyd, Iván Nova, Spencer Turnbull, Fulmer and Alexander. “But Casey Mize is going to get his chance when we feel he’s ready to go. We want him to come up here and be successful and stay up here once he’s up here. So that’s the main thing, not too different than the other young guys that we have in camp also.”

The handling of top pitching prospects has differed from team to team this season. The Blue Jays called up their No. 1 prospect Nate Pearson, MLB Pipeline’s ninth-ranked prospect overall, a couple weeks ago and installed him into their rotation. He ended last season at Triple-A Buffalo. The Phillies last week called up Spencer Howard, who is ranked 36th overall, after an injury-shortened 2019 season but a strong Arizona Fall League. The Padres have not yet promoted MacKenzie Gore, the No. 5 overall prospect, who like Mize split last season between Class A Advanced and Double-A but is a couple years younger. Mize, 23, is currently ranked eighth overall.

Tigers activate Maybin from injured list
The Tigers reinstated veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin from the 10-day injured list Friday and plugged him into right field for their series opener against Cleveland. Victor Reyes moved from right to left field, with Christin Stewart on the bench against Indians right-hander Aaron Civale.

Manager Ron Gardenhire now has four outfielders for three positions, the same situation he faced when the season began. Unlike then, Reyes is playing his way into regular time with a home run, two doubles, four RBIs and a .704 OPS in 15 games. He also entered Friday tied for the American League lead with four stolen bases.

“Gotta find places for him to play,” Gardenhire said. “He makes things happen all over the field, plays great defense, the whole package. I just don’t have enough spots right now. We’re just going to have to mix and match with Maybin back. Everybody’s going to get their at-bats.”

Maybin had been out since July 31 with a right quad strain.

Fox Sports Detroit reports strong Tigers ratings
The Tigers’ strong start has translated into viewers on television. According to Nielsen, Tigers telecasts on FOX Sports Detroit have been the top-rated show since the start of the season from 7-10 p.m. ET in multiperson households among all networks.

“It’s clear that Tigers fans all across metro Detroit are rooting loudly for this exciting team. Fans are watching every pitch, every inning and loving what they see. Thank you Tigers fans!” said Greg Hammaren, FOX Sports Detroit senior vice president/general manager.

Injury updates
• Reliever Buck Farmer (left groin strain) is scheduled to begin his bullpen progression Saturday.

Jordan Zimmermann (right forearm strain) threw his first bullpen session on Friday as he tries to return before season’s end. He was placed on the 45-day injured list when the season began and won’t be eligible for reinstatement until mid-September.

Dario Agrazal (right forearm strain) threw a one-inning session of live batting practice Friday.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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