Detroit — The Tigers are listing TBA as their starting pitcher for Sunday. That would be lefty Matthew Boyd’s turn in the rotation. But fear not, there is no injury involved here, just physical maintenance.
“Boyd is getting an extra day (of rest) simply because of the length of the season and where he’s at,” manager AJ Hinch said Friday. “He’s fine, but any chance we get to give an extra day, we’re going to give it. This also allows us to give Casey (Mize) an extra day.”
Boyd has already matched the 12 starts he made last season and he’s thrown eight more innings. But he’s been so much more economical and efficient. He’s faced 16 more batters than he did last year and has thrown 10 fewer pitches.
“Boyd is starting the first game in Kansas City (on Monday),” Hinch said. “We will have a different starter going on Sunday.”
Hinch said it will be another bullpen game on Sunday, with no reinforcements from Triple-A Toledo.
“The group we have here is the group we’re going with,” he said. “We will see how these (first two games) go.”
Tyler Alexander, who started the two other bullpen games including Thursday, would be available to start. Beau Burrows, just called up on Thursday, and Jason Foley could also get extended work.
“It’s not ideal in such a short period of time,” Hinch said. “But we’re comfortable with it given the need to give our other guys rest.”
Thursday’s starter might’ve been right-hander Rony Garcia, but it looks like his season is over.
“It looks like he’s headed for surgery,” Hinch said. “He’s going to get a second and third opinion, but he’s going to be out a while.”
Garcia blew out his meniscus while warming up before the game Thursday.
With Jose Cruz Jr. leaving after the weekend to start his new gig — head baseball coach at Rice University — the Tigers have promoted Mike Hessman from Toledo to be assistant hitting coach for the rest of the season.
“He earned his way here,” Hinch said. “He’s very familiar with our players. A lot of our guys were excited he’s getting the opportunity to be up here.”
Hessman, the all-time home run leader in the International League, had a 20-year professional career, with big-league stops in Atlanta, Detroit and New York (Mets). He’s been coaching in the Tigers system since 2016, at Toledo since 2019.
Cruz is expected to stay with the Tigers through Saturday.
“We are very happy for Cruz and his family,” Hinch said. “Jose is a tremendous person and a tremendous coach. I knew there was a threat at some point of him going somewhere, but I didn’t think it was going to be this soon, or that it would be back to his alma mater.
“But it’s a really touching story for him, returning to a place he’s pretty famous at.”
Jeff Branson was promoted to take Hessman’s spot in Toledo.
Around the horn
Catcher Wilson Ramos (lumbar strain) has begun his rehab assignment in Lakeland, playing in extended spring training games.
… Catcher Grayson Greiner (hamstring) will resume his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo Sunday.
White Sox at Tigers
► First pitch: 4:10 p.m. Saturday, Comerica Park, Detroit
► TV/radio: BSD/97.1
► RHP Dylan Cease (4-2, 3.36), White Sox: He’s 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA (47 strikeouts, 11 walks) in his career against the Tigers. This season, he’s pitched 14 scoreless innings in two starts, with 19 strikeouts and one walk. Last Sunday, he got 10 swings and misses and 12 called strikes with his primary secondary pitches (slider and knuckle curve).
► RHP Jose Urena (2-5, 4.25), Tigers: This will be his second start back after missing 10 days with a forearm cramp. He faced the White Sox last Sunday and didn’t have command of his slider until late in his start. Still, he grinded through five innings allowing three runs, all in the second inning.