KANSAS CITY — A few hours before the Tigers’ 10-3 win on Monday over the Royals, Detroit activated reliever Michael Fulmer from the injured list. By optioning infielder Isaac Paredes to Triple-A Toledo instead of another pitcher, manager A.J. Hinch ensured he had an 11-man bullpen.
Little could Hinch have imagined when he made the move that he would use virtually every reliever he had available — and that he’d do it in a victory.
The sight of Matthew Boyd walking off the mound at Kauffman Stadium with head athletic trainer Doug Teter, heading to the training room to get his arm checked out, was a frightening sight for many Tigers fans. But it had to be terrifying for Hinch, who used six pitchers in a bullpen game Sunday, and had to use catcher Jake Rogers and infielder Harold Castro to pitch Saturday.
Boyd exited with left arm discomfort in the third inning and was taken for further examination. Reliever Alex Lange, who grew up in nearby Lee’s Summit, Mo., saw his homecoming ruined when he left with right shoulder discomfort in the fifth inning. Lange was Detroit’s fourth pitcher of the game.
Somehow, Hinch had to cover innings with an already taxed bullpen. Even with a comfortable lead that began with a four-run opening inning and grew with a Willi Castro two-run homer in the fourth, it was a daunting task. Somehow, the Tigers made it work.