Tigers top prospect Spencer Torkelson told High-A West Michigan play-by-play broadcaster Dan Hasty that he’s trusting in his preparation and his work ethic as he adjusts to Minor League pitching amidst a slow start.
“It’s not a huge adjustment really,” Torkelson told Hasty for the Whitecaps radio pregame show on Sunday. “You kind of just got to get out of your own way, but you just have to take every at-bat, every pitch, one pitch at a time and then trust the process and then good things will end up happening in this long season.”
Torkelson entered the week batting 6-for-41 (.146) with one extra-base hit, a double. He has shown a patient approach at the plate, drawing 10 walks to go with 17 strikeouts. He had a good taste of success Saturday, hitting a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to beat the Great Lakes Loons.
“I felt great going up to the plate in that at-bat,” he told Hasty, “and I pretty much told myself there’s no other option, we’re winning this game right now because, one, I know the pitchers didn’t want to go into extra innings and then, two, we all wanted to get out of the rain and go home happy.”
The hit and the celebration that followed was positive reinforcement for him.
“Just trusting my work ethic and just having fun out there with my teammates, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “That’s what some things get lost in. Sticking to that plan has worked out for me in the past, so I’m going to just keep doing that.”
Torkelson said he’s settling into life in Grand Rapids. With no host families this season due to COVID restrictions, he’s living on his own in an apartment. He joked about not getting out much other than to Anna’s House, a Michigan-based breakfast and lunch restaurant.
“I always get the monkey bread or the cinnamon roll to start off and then the hangover omelet,” the 21-year-old slugger said, “not because I’m hung over, but because it’s good.”
Tigers reinstate Ramos, will go with three catchers
As expected, the Tigers activated Wilson Ramos from the 10-day injured list on Monday, the first day he was eligible to return. He had been out with a lumbar spine strain.
The Tigers optioned reliever Alex Lange to Triple-A Toledo to open a roster spot. Their roster is back to 13 pitchers while carrying three catchers, with Ramos joining Jake Rogers and Eric Haase. All three were in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Mariners — Rogers behind the plate, Ramos at designated hitter and Haase in left field.
The Tigers will try to use the versatility of Haase, who played left field in Spring Training and has worked out at first base.
“More of an emergency [option] at first,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “You’ll see a little bit more aggressive [use] in left field like today. I’ll probably play him in left field this weekend against Kansas City if their rotation stays the same.”
The Royals placed lefty Danny Duffy on the injured list Monday, which would impact that.
Ramos is fully healthy and will catch Tuesday in Seattle, Hinch said, but the manager hasn’t sorted out yet how the catching mix will play out.
Though Lange had several strong outings over his five-week stint in the Tigers bullpen, the former first-round pick also had three outings in which he gave up three runs each, including Saturday’s fifth inning in a 9-8 win over the Cubs. He also had pitched three of the last four days, which contributed to the move.
The 25-year-old right-hander, Detroit’s 27th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, heads to Toledo in search of more consistency.
“We’ve got to get him to executing pitch by pitch,” Hinch said. “He would show flashes of being very good at it, and then the big swing would come back to haunt him, whether it was because of a walk and then a homer, or a walk and then a double. He would get two outs and just not be able to replicate his innings.
“… He’s got to hold himself to a Major League caliber standard in the Minor Leagues, and it could be a very quick option down to Triple-A and get him back here after his 10 days are up.”