Detroit scratched Manning from his scheduled start for Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday and added him to its taxi squad. Instead of starting for the Mud Hens at Columbus, the big right-hander threw a side session in Kansas City in preparation for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani in Anaheim.
Though Manning began the season last month at Triple-A Toledo seemingly on a countdown to a summer callup for his MLB debut, such a call seemed implausible two weeks ago as he sat with a 9.23 ERA and 11 home runs allowed through six starts. He took a step forward with six innings of two-run ball and eight strikeouts in his most recent start last Wednesday.
Ideally, Manning would get another start or two for the Mud Hens to try to build on that. But the Tigers left ideal scenarios behind a week ago as injuries saddled them with two bullpen games. With Spencer Turnbull just beginning his rehab process in Lakeland, Fla., this week and Matthew Boyd now added to the 10-day injured list with left arm discomfort, the Tigers need starters. Ready or not, Manning realistically is their best option in an injury-depleted Toledo rotation.
Assuming Manning more than a one-time option given Detroit’s depth issues, more than half of the Tigers’ rotation will consist of pitchers who were on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list when the season began, and who were in Double-A Erie rotation’s two years ago.
The Tigers’ first-round pick from the 2016 MLB Draft is also the third-ranked prospect in the organization and No. 18 overall.