The Detroit Tigers are bringing right-handed pitcher Matt Manning to the big leagues, in an effort to aid their injured starting rotation. Losing Spencer Turnbull and Matthew Boyd to injuries left the Tigers with three starters: Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Jose Urena.
To find a fix, the Tigers announced Tuesday that Manning — already on the 40-man roster — has joined the taxi squad in Kansas City. He will be activated and start Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels. Manning, 23, is the organization’s No. 3 prospect in the farm system, according to MLB Pipeline.
For his first MLB start, Manning will face the Angels’ two-way star, Shohei Ohtani.
“He doesn’t have to try to do too much,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “He doesn’t have to ease into it. I’m not going to baby him, but I am going to hand him to start the game. There’s only one major league debut, and that’s going to come Thursday for him. He’s got plenty of time to prepare.”
The Tigers also made additional roster moves ahead of Tuesday’s game.
They called up right-hander Wily Peralta and left-hander Miguel Del Pozo from Triple-A Toledo and placed Boyd (left arm discomfort) and righty reliever Alex Lange (right shoulder strain) on the 10-day injured list.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario has been reinstated from the injured list, after going to the bereavement list and traveling to the Dominican Republic for a family emergency. He had to be placed on the injured list for COVID-19 protocols in his return.
Righty reliever Rony Garcia has moved from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list with a left knee sprain. Catcher Wilson Ramos and right-handed reliever Beau Burrows were designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Hinch said Boyd’s injury is “more toward the elbow.” But he didn’t want to discuss the injury much further because the organization is still waiting Boyd to complete “a number of tests” in Kansas City that will determine his availability for the “next few series.”
“I don’t want to play doctor,” Hinch said. “I know what I want it to be, which is a nice 10-day stint to freshen him up. But I won’t know anything until he talks to a number of people. … I hate talking about it without knowing fully, because you immediately go to big questions that I can’t answer. I just know he’s in the training room today getting treatment. He says he feels good. I don’t know what that means.”
More about Manning
In seven starts for Triple-A Toledo, Manning posted an 8.07 ERA, 10 walks, 36 strikeouts and 11 home runs allowed in 32⅔ innings. His most recent start, June 9 against the Louisville Bats, was much better than that. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings, with eight strikeouts.
“He was, I think in some ways, relieved,” Hinch said about Manning getting called up. “He didn’t say that to me, but he’s not happy with how his year went, and he didn’t want to be written off. The fact that he’s getting this opportunity, he seemed genuinely very thankful.”
For Double-A Erie in 2019, Manning logged 133⅔ innings across 24 starts. He gave up just seven home runs and 38 walks to go with his 148 strikeouts. He pitched alongside Mize and Skubal with the SeaWolves.
Manning also joined Mize and Skubal at the alternate training site in Toledo last season because the minor leagues were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mize and Skubal were called up for their MLB debuts in August. Meanwhile, Manning was shut down later that month with a right forearm strain.
Mize and Skubal made the Opening Day roster out of spring training, but Manning was sent to Triple-A.
“We have visions in the future of those three being very stable parts of a rotation,” Hinch said. “They’ve got to go all out and earn it. They’re at different points of their development to become guys like that, but I hope what Tarik and Casey have learned so far will be quickly communicated to Matt as he gets underway.”
At some point, the Tigers will implement load management with Mize’s workload, possibly as soon as late June. He could be limited to two- or three-inning starts until the All-Star break in July, which means the organization needs Manning to provide quality innings — either as a starter or a piggyback reliever — until Turnbull and Boyd return from their injuries.
The other moves
Cutting Ramos from the 40-man roster is no surprise, considering Hinch likes the production he is getting from catchers Jake Rogers and Eric Haase. Ramos has been in Lakeland, Florida, home of the team’s spring training complex, for his second stint on the injured list with a lumbar spine strain.
Ramos hit .200 with six home runs and 13 RBIs, with six walks and 29 strikeouts, in 35 games this season. Burrows, the No. 22 overall pick in 2015, made one appearance for the Tigers in 2021 and was also designated for assignment. He had a 6.23 ERA over nine games in Triple-A Toledo.
As for the additions, Peralta joins as an eight-year MLB veteran. He signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers this offseason but didn’t make it to spring training because of visa and travel issues. The 32-year-old had a 2.75 ERA, eight walks and 21 strikeouts in 19⅔ innings for the Mud Hens.
Del Pozo, 28, has made 22 relief appearances in parts of two big-league seasons. He pitched for the Angels in 2019 and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. For Toledo, he logged a 1.32 ERA, three walks and 17 strikeouts in 13⅔ innings over 12 games.
Peralta is being considered to start Saturday against the Angels to fill Boyd’s spot in the rotation. Lefty reliever Tyler Alexander is also in the mix.
“I want them both to throw strikes,” Hinch said. “I want them both to be ready at a moment’s notice and get them into the big leagues. Just seize the opportunity, throw strikes, come in and attack. Be the version of themselves that they were in Triple-A, and they’ll be just fine.”
Candelario has been the team’s most consistent offensive weapon this season, hitting .266 with four home runs, 18 RBIs, 22 walks and 63 strikeouts in 57 games. Earlier this season, he had a 29-game on-base streak.
To fill spots in Toledo, the Tigers moved right-handers Mark Leiter Jr., Gerson Moreno and Pedro Payano from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo. Also, right-handers Jesus Rodriguez and Chavez Fernander — along with infielder Spencer Torkelson and catcher Dillon Dingler — made the jump from High-A West Michigan to Erie.
Torkelson is the Tigers’ No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and Dingler is ranked No. 4.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.