LAKELAND, Fla. — Detroit Tigers right-hander Casey Mize is coming back to the major leagues, manager AJ Hinch announced Friday. Right-hander Michael Fulmer will make the team and pitch out of the bullpen.
Also, left-hander Derek Holland is going to make the roster. Holland, a 12-year MLB veteran, has tossed eight scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts and one walk this spring. He is a nonroster invitee to camp, so a spot on the 40-man roster will need to be cleared for him.
Mize showcased why he deserved a spot on the Opening Day squad against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark on Thursday
He finished his four innings with five hits, two earned runs, no walks and nine strikeouts across four frames. He used 72 pitches, generating 55 strikes. And he got strikeouts for nine of his first 10 outs. Newly cemented backup catcher Grayson Greiner caught him.
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Thursday’s performance was a welcomed sight. Mize battled his command during his big-league debut last season — 13 walks to 26 strikeouts, accompanied by a 6.99 ERA in seven starts. His struggles translated into camp.
Entering Thursday, Mize produced 10 walks and 12 strikeouts, with a 9.90 ERA. But on Thursday, in the biggest moment of his spring training, he didn’t allow a walk and flexed his repertoire with a whopping nine strikeouts.
He gave up three consecutive hits — plating two runs — to open the fourth inning but came back with a three-pitch strikeout. After the next batter reached on an error by left fielder JaCoby Jones, Mize worked out of a one-out jam with two runners in scoring position. He did not allow further damage.
He joins Matthew Boyd (Opening Day starter), Julio Teheran, Tarik Skubal and Jose Urena to complete the five-man rotation.
After a couple of weeks in April, the Tigers are expected to move to a six-man rotation. At some point, right-hander Spencer Turnbull will rejoin the Tigers. He is on the non-baseball related (COVID-19) injured list.
Mize is lined up to pitch the Tigers’ spring training finale Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays in Lakeland.
And then, the former No. 1 overall pick is headed to Detroit.