Detroit — A phone call from a player in the wee hours of the morning, particularly the morning after an off-day, well, it’s rarely good news for a manager.
It wasn’t this time, either. Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario informed manager AJ Hinch on Tuesday morning that he had to tend to a family emergency.
“Jeimer said he needed to leave the team,” Hinch said. “He is flying to the Dominican Republic to be with his family. It’s his news to share whenever he’s comfortable. We’ll be thinking about him and praying for him.”
The Tigers placed Candelario on the bereavement list. He will be away from the team for a minimum of three days and no more than seven. Hinch said per Major League Baseball rules, Candelario also will have to pass a COVID-19 intake test before he’s reinstated.
In the meantime, an opportunity opens for infielder Isaac Paredes, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo.
“We wanted to get Isaac up here at some point,” Hinch said. “We considered bringing Zack Short back (he was just sent back to Toledo on Saturday). But we do have open playing time at third base for a few days, and we want to give Isaac a look.”
Paredes, 22 and still technically a rookie, is the No. 4 prospect in the Tigers system, according to MLBPipeline. He made his big-league debut last season for the Tigers, hitting .220 and a .568 OPS in 34 games (108 plate appearances).
“One of the things that’s different is maturity,” Paredes said through Tigers’ bilingual interpreter Carlos Guillen. “I feel more mature right now. I feel more ready to come back to the best baseball in the world, and take advantage of every opportunity the manager gives me.”
Paredes, who played exclusively at third base last year, was hitting .269 at Toledo with a .732 OPS, two home runs and 14 RBIs — as well as playing second base, shortstop and third base.
“He was performing well at Triple A,” Hinch said. “The reports are that he’s showing the same instincts and tangibles and feel for the game. And his offense has picked up the last few weeks. He needs to be reminded that he’s not out of sight, out of mind. He’s very much a part of what we want to do.”
Paredes was one of the last position players optioned to Toledo in spring training.
“He was very disappointed coming out of camp and for the first week or so at the alternate site he was pretty down about not making the team,” Hinch said. “It was his first legit chance for him to break with the major-league club.
“But once he got past the disappointment, (Toledo manager) Tom Prince said he really took to the finer points of the game.”
Paredes said it was less about disappointment and more about motivation.
“I took it as a lesson to work harder,” Paredes said. “It basically gave me more hunger to get back.”
Around the horn
The Tigers are hopeful Michael Fulmer’s stint on the injured list (right shoulder strain) won’t be much longer than the required 10 days. The earliest he could be activated is Sunday. “We won’t know for sure until he starts throwing again, but we are optimistic it’s going to be a short stint,” Hinch said. “I’m not sure the exact timetable until we fire him back up again and see how he responds.”
… Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull (right forearm strain) isn’t expected to be cleared to throw for at least another three days.
… Thursday would be Turnbull’s turn in the rotation, and Hinch said it would be a bullpen start. Unless the bullpen gets overworked in the first two games of the series against the Mariners, right-hander Rony Garcia would be in position to start the game.
Mariners at Tigers
► First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Comerica Park, Detroit
► TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM
► RHP Chris Flexen (5-3, 4.70), Mariners: A pitch-to-contact guy who features four pitches (four-seam, cutter, change-up and curve) all within a 79 to 93 mph velocity range. He throws strikes (1.8 walks per nine), but he’s been hittable. Opponents are hitting .305 against him in 10 starts.
► RHP Casey Mize (3-4, 3.34), Tigers: You almost can’t wait to see how he arranges his five-pitch mix against the Mariners this time, after limiting them to three hits over 7.2 innings with seven strikeouts May 17 in Seattle. Opponents are hitting under .200 against three of his pitches (four-seam, .186; slider, .161; curveball, .118).