What had been a standout opening month for Matthew Boyd is now on hold after the Tigers left-hander left his Thursday night start against the White Sox with left knee tendinitis.
Boyd, who took a 1.82 ERA into a showdown against a Chicago lineup that teed off on him last year, pitched in and out of trouble for eight batters over an inning-plus, scattering three hits and a walk. He gestured to the Tigers dugout to call for head athletic trainer Doug Teter after throwing his 36th pitch of the night, a 1-1 fastball inside to Leury García.
Boyd had a brief conversation on the mound with Teter and manager A.J. Hinch before leaving the game. Michael Fulmer, who just moved back to the bullpen this week after making two starts, came in from the bullpen to replace him.
Boyd pitched through a hamstring injury for most of last season, followed by plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He finished 2020 with a 6.71 ERA and a league-high 15 home runs allowed over 60 1/3 innings, including five homers against the White Sox. He has been remarkably durable for his career, the result of a focus on his physical conditioning the last few years. The 30-year-old has never spent a day on the injured list in his pro career.
A full offseason to get back to health and hone his changeup did wonders for Boyd, who has allowed one home run in 35 2/3 innings so far this season.
If Boyd has to miss time, Fulmer would most likely stay in the rotation. The Tigers have top pitching prospect Matt Manning at Triple-A Toledo, but they’d like the right-hander to get some seasoning with the Mud Hens before deploying him later this season.
Boyd is the second Tigers starter to suffer an injury this season. Right-hander Julio Teheran made one start this year before going on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain, an injury that’s expected to sideline him for a good chunk of the season.