When Casey Mize takes the ball on Wednesday against the Red Sox, it will mark his first visit to Fenway Park as a Detroit Tiger, but not his first time at the iconic ballpark. The right-hander visited in 2016 while playing in the Cape Cod League following his freshman season at Auburn, and it left quite the impression.
“Just seeing Fenway for the first time was pretty remarkable,” Mize said Tuesday before the Tigers opened a three-game series against the Red Sox. “It was awesome for me just to be able to walk in and step on the grass and just be like, ‘Wow.’
“It’s unbelievable the players that have played here, and the amazing things that have happened. … Now, as a player, just to be able to join the company of the people that have played on this field is special.”
Mize is bolstered with confidence and will take on a fierce Boston lineup after a six-inning complete-game effort in Game 1 of Thursday’s seven-inning doubleheader against the White Sox. Mize hit trouble that resulted in a three-run fifth that day, but manager A.J. Hinch showed faith and sent him out for the sixth anyway for what Hinch termed a “developmental inning.” The 24-year-old responded just as Hinch hoped he would, and after a leadoff double to open the frame, Mize retired the final three White Sox in order.
“I’m just really trying to limit … one pitch or one mistake making me frustrated and that piling up,” Mize said. “Just learning from [Thursday], moving forward, I was pleased with how I was able to work through some adversity that game.”
Mize is also hopeful to create more meaningful experiences at Fenway on Wednesday. While his first visit to the park was high on the list of memories that summer in 2016, Mize said the highlight of the Cape Cod League was building a bond with his host family, the Blackwells.
They’ll be in attendance Wednesday, leaving Mize just one last item to check off his Boston bucket list: signing the Green Monster. Countless players have stepped inside of the storied beast in left field and left their name on the wall, something veteran Derek Holland issued a reminder about as the team bus approached the hotel.
“He was like, ‘Make sure you guys go do that; it’s a cool thing to do,'” Mize said, “so I think I’m going to do that before we get out of here.”
• As far as fractured wrists go, Daz Cameron seems to have escaped the worst of it. The Tigers’ No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline will begin the season on Triple-A Toledo’s injured list, but Hinch said the injury reads much worse on paper.
“He’s going to be in Lakeland, [Fla.], for a couple of weeks, but he’s moving all right, [and] he’s not immobile right now,” Hinch said. “He’s rehabbing. I’m not sure how to describe a fractured wrist not being serious — because it is — but it’s not as significant as it sounds. But it is something we need to monitor and make sure that he’s at full strength before he goes back into games.”
Cameron sustained the injury to his right wrist at the Tigers’ alternate training site “a bit ago,” according to Hinch.
• Right-hander Franklin Pérez was not as fortunate as Cameron. The club’s No. 15 prospect was placed on the injured list at High-A West Michigan on Tuesday with a right shoulder capsule defect and is scheduled to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Thursday.
• Nomar Mazara (left abdominal strain) was slated to start his rehab assignment as the No. 2 hitter and designated hitter for the Mud Hens during Tuesday night’s Triple-A season opener in Toledo, Ohio. If all goes according to plan, the Tigers’ right fielder/DH will play Tuesday and Wednesday, rest Thursday and play Friday before he’s evaluated for a return to Detroit.