He departed from last Thursday’s start in the second inning with left knee tendinitis. The 30-year-old will avoid a trip to the injured list.
“We’ll get Boyd on the back end of this rotation,” manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio. “He’ll start Sunday against the Twins if all things continue to progress. He avoided the injured list. He did miss a start. But the prognosis for him is pretty positive.”
Before suffering the knee injury, Boyd was scheduled to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Instead, he went to the ballpark Monday — an off-day during the team’s nine-game road trip — to throw off the mound.
“He’s moving great,” Hinch said.
Right-hander Michael Fulmer takes Boyd’s spot Tuesday against the Red Sox. He has a 3.86 ERA, six walks and 20 strikeouts in seven games (three starts) across 21 innings.
The most pitches thrown by Fulmer in a single game this season was 78 in a five-inning start April 14. In his last three appearances, he tossed 60 pitches in four innings, 36 in three innings and 49 in two innings.
“We’re going to have Michael Fulmer pitch and then have the rest of the bullpen fill in,” Hinch said. “It’ll kind of be like a bullpen day.”
The last time Fulmer pitched was Thursday, when he entered out of the bullpen in the second inning after Boyd left the 11-0 loss in Game 2 of a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Dealing with an abnormal feeling in his left knee, Boyd called on Hinch, athletic trainer Doug Teter, pitching coach Chris Fetter and catcher Wilson Ramos for a mound visit. After a short conversation, he walked off the mound and into the clubhouse.
“He threw me two pitches before that, and it wasn’t like the pitches he threw in the past,” Ramos said. “His body language was telling me something, and I made the decision to go to the mound and see how he felt at that moment. Really tough loss by the team. That’s a guy we need on the mound right now.”
Boyd has a 2.27 ERA through six starts and 35⅔ innings, with seven walks and 24 strikeouts. He has only allowed one home run. Last season, he finished the shortened campaign with a 6.71 ERA in 60⅓ innings. He led the major leagues with 45 earned runs and 15 home runs allowed.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.