Detroit Tigers make first spring training cuts, send four players to Triple-A Toledo

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold | Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — Let the roster trimming begin.

The Detroit Tigers made their first round of spring training cuts Friday, sending four pitchers to Triple-A Toledo: right-handers Alex Faedo, Beau Burrows and Kyle Funkhouser and left-hander Joey Wentz.

“The group is now going to go to mini camp,” manager AJ Hinch said Friday. “It’s one of the reasons we set up mini camp. We knew we wanted to send guys somewhere and get that feeling of shrinking camp. We’re obviously going to have to do it again and again.”

With the Triple-A season delayed by one month, Fifth Third Field in Toledo will open as an alternate training site until games begin May 4. Hinch wants to compete in “B games” in spring training if another team is willing to use their backups in competition.

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Until then, the players in mini camp will go through live batting practices and intrasquad games.

“The important thing is to get everybody ready,” Hinch said. “You never know, things can change in a heartbeat.”

Faedo and Wentz are each recovering from Tommy John surgery, with Wentz ahead of Faedo in the recovery process.

Wentz had his elbow reconstruction in March 2020; Faedo didn’t get his diagnosis until December 2020, nearly four months after getting shut down at the alternate training site. Wentz and Faedo are ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Tigers’ ninth and 10th best prospects, respectively.

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Burrows and Funkhouser made their MLB debuts last season but struggled in limited action.

In 6⅔ innings across five relief appearances, Burrows logged a 5.40 ERA with three strikeouts and one walk. Funkhouser finished with a 7.27 ERA in 17⅓ inning across his 13 games out of the bullpen. He had 12 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Hinch plans to keep Burrows and Funkhouser stretched out to two or three innings, or somewhere around 50 pitches, and he won’t rule out their contributions at the big-league level shortly after the season begins in April.

It’s unclear if they will move forward as starters or relievers.

“That’s not saying they won’t start at some point during the minor-league season if they’re in the minors, but we need to be smart with how we build them up,” Hinch said. “Hover them for the time being and then make decisions along the way.”

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Also, the Tigers reassigned seven players to the team’s mini camp in Lakeland: right-handers Zack Hess and Gerson Moreno, catcher Dillon Dingler, infielders Daniel Pinero and Aderlin Rodriguez and outfielders Jacob Robson and Danny Woodrow.

Only 48 players remain in major-league camp.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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