The Detroit Tigers are giving one of their up-and-coming infielders an opportunity, as right-hander Jose Urena was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with a right forearm strain, the team announced Saturday.
To fill Urena’s roster spot, the Tigers recalled infielder Zack Short from Triple-A Toledo.
Urena, 29, was removed from Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Cleveland with two outs in the sixth inning. He was initially diagnosed with lower right forearm cramping. Neither Urena nor Tigers manager AJ Hinch think the injury is serous.
“We just decided to go with the cautious approach and skip his start,” Hinch said Saturday. “I do think it’s the right thing for him. I think he could have gutted it out, done it and potentially even been OK.”
As of Friday, Urena felt healthy enough to pitch Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers and was hoping to make his next start, but Hinch wanted to be “very conservative.” The skipper was leaning toward skipping his start.
Now, it’s official: Hinch needs to find a new starting pitcher for Monday.
“We’ve got to figure out whether we want to go with an all bullpen day or call up an extra arm for that day,” Hinch said, adding he noticed right-hander Rony Garcia has pitched well in Triple-A Toledo with a 3.20 ERA in four starts. “There’s some options if we want to do the back and forth transaction for the next couple of days and find the best team we can have.”
Because Urena’s stint on the injured list is retroactive to Thursday, he can be activated as soon as June 6 to start against the Chicago White Sox. Hinch told Urena to sit out his bullpen session Friday, despite the right-hander telling coaches and trainers he felt healthy enough to throw.
“I’m very confident that he’s going to make the start in Chicago,” Hinch said. “The fact that he had a little bit of soreness (Friday), and we were going to have to wait until the day of start, it’s a day game (against the Brewers), swinging the bat, there were so many things that were in the negative column that we decided to be very cautious.
“He’ll throw a couple bullpens between now and then.”
Through 10 starts and 54⅓ innings, Urena has a 4.14 ERA, 22 walks and 35 strikeouts. He has pitched into the sixth inning in six of his starts, and completed seven innings in four consecutive starts from April 16-May 2.
Short received the call back to the majors on his 26th birthday.
He made his MLB debut earlier this season, playing two games. During his brief stint in April, as the Tigers awaited Miguel Cabrera’s return from the injured list, he went 1-for-5 with two walks and three strikeouts.
For Toledo, Short went 10-for-44 (.227) with two home runs, seven RBIs, 12 walks and 13 strikeouts in 13 games. He spent seven games at shortstop, four at second base and two at third base, giving the Tigers versatility in the infield.
“The infield coverage matters,” Hinch said. “I think Zack Short is fundamentally sound as a defensive guy. That’s something we’re contenting to pay close attention to. … Unfortunate for him, we’re more comfortable going up and down with him a couple times this year than we are with other players. But I like what Zack can bring to the team.”
Short is ranked as the organization’s 21st-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The Tigers acquired him from the Chicago Cubs at last season’s trade deadline for outfielder Cameron Maybin.
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.