Detroit Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter cleared from COVID-19, joins team for road trip

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers are getting a key piece of their coaching staff back for the first time this season.

Pitching coach Chris Fetter has been cleared to return from COVID-19, the team announced Thursday. Missing since the end of spring training, he will travel with the Tigers on their upcoming 10-game road trip, which starts Friday in Cleveland.

Manager AJ Hinch hinted Wednesday that Fetter would return soon.

“He’s feeling better,” Hinch said. “He’s symptom-free. He’s running through the protocols that MLB has mandated for all personnel that tests positive. We’re very optimistic that he’s going to be able to join us soon, maybe as early as next series.”

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The Tigers start the 10-game road trip Friday with three matchups against Cleveland. They visit Houston for three games and play four games against Oakland.

Two days before the Tigers left their spring training facility in Lakeland, Florida, Fetter tested positive for COVID-19 and had to quarantine. He missed the first two series of the regular season.

Without in-person access to the team, Fetter has shared numerous phone calls with Hinch and spoken to his players via Zoom.

The Tigers hired Fetter as the new pitching coach in early November, one week after Hinch became manager.

Fetter, 35, spent the three seasons as Michigan baseball’s pitching coach, helping the Wolverines to the 2019 College World Series championship series.

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Although right-hander Spencer Turnbull has been cleared from COVID-19 protocols, he is building his arm strength in Lakeland and will move to the alternate training site in Toledo.

Whenever Turnbull returns to the Tigers, Fetter will be tasked with getting the most out of a six-man starting rotation, which is expected to include Turnbull, Matthew Boyd, Julio Teheran, Tarik Skubal, Jose Urena and Casey Mize.

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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