DETROIT — As expected, the Tigers placed right-hander José Ureña on the 10-day injured list on Saturday with a right forearm strain. They’re not expecting him to be on there for long.
Though Ureña’s lower right forearm strain sounds like a bad injury, given how often it seems to happen before a more serious elbow condition, Ureña’s ailment is closer to his wrist. It’s also something he has experienced before, he said, often when he throws a lot of curveballs.
The roster move is backdated to Thursday, the day after Ureña’s last start, so he’ll be eligible to return a week from Sunday when the Tigers wrap up their four-game series against the White Sox in Chicago. Ureña beat the Sox there on April 27 with help from four double plays over seven innings with one earned run allowed.
“I’m very confident that he’s going to make the start in Chicago,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We just decided to go with the cautious approach and skip a start. I do think it’s the right thing for him. I think he could have gutted it out and [started Monday] and potentially have even been OK.”
That leaves that start Monday afternoon in Milwaukee to fill. Depending on how the Tigers use their bullpen this weekend against the Yankees, the most likely scenario is a bullpen game. It’s an Interleague matchup with no DH slot, so Hinch could line up relievers and pinch-hitters for the day, with Matthew Boyd likely to eat innings on Tuesday, followed by an off-day on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to figure out whether we want to go with an all-bullpen day on Monday or if we want to call up an extra arm for that day,” Hinch said.
The Tigers’ options for spot starters to call up from Triple-A Toledo are limited. The two Mud Hens starters who could conceivably pitch on turn are prospect Logan Shore and veteran Major Leaguer Wily Peralta. The Tigers signed Peralta to a Minor League contract last winter and gave him a non-roster invite to compete for a spot in Spring Training, but he didn’t arrive until the end of camp due to travel and other issues.
What about Manning?
One pitcher who won’t be a candidate to start Monday is top pitching prospect Matt Manning, who pitched Friday for Toledo. His 2021 struggles continued for the Mud Hens with a season-high six runs allowed on six hits in 3 1/3 innings against Louisville, with three walks and two strikeouts. He gave up his 10th home run of the season and nearly yielded another with a double off the right-field wall.
Though the 23-year-old right-hander and former first-round pick still has a solid chance to make his big league debut at some point this year, he needs time to make the adjustment to veteran hitters and improve his control of the strike zone.
Short called up on his birthday
For now, the Tigers are filling Ureña’s roster slot with an extra position player, recalling infielder Zack Short from Toledo. It was quite a gift for his 26th birthday, but the move makes sense while outfielder Victor Reyes deals with injury. Reyes was scratched from Friday’s lineup with pectoral tightness.
Short also has a chance to help the Tigers’ middle-infield defense.
“Niko [Goodrum] is going to play a little bit of outfield. The infield coverage matters,” Hinch said. “I think Zack Short is fundamentally sound as a defensive guy. That’s something that we’re continuing to play close attention to.”
Short went 1-for-5 in two games for Detroit in late April. He’s batting .227 for the Mud Hens with two homers and seven RBIs, but he has almost as many walks (12) as strikeouts (13), resulting in an .833 OPS.
Short is likely to start on Sunday, Hinch added.
“I like what Zack Short can bring to the team,” Hinch said. “I like what he showed when he was up here, and it’s nice to remind guys every now and then that they’re still in the mix and they can still contribute.”