The Detroit Tigers lost another starting pitcher for an unspecified amount of time after Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader at Comerica Park, as right-hander Jose Urena joined Spencer Turnbull and Matthew Boyd on the injured list.
Following the game, the Tigers placed Urena on the 10-day injured list. They also put utility player Niko Goodrum on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 15. He was scratched from Saturday’s Game 1 lineup with a left calf contusion. To replace them, righty reliever Alex Lange and outfielder Victor Reyes were called up from Triple-A Toledo.
“It was just the third inning,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Saturday about Urena’s injury. “He said he did it on one pitch, and his right groin grabbed on him and was sore. Obviously, we got him out right away. … It’s unfortunate for us that it popped up. Now we’re going to have to deal with it.”
Before Urena’s exit, the 29-year-old gave the Tigers three scoreless innings. He struck out two batters, did not allow a walk, induced six ground-ball outs and threw 28 of 42 pitches for strikes. Urena has a 6.19 ERA, 37 walks and 52 strikeouts over 80 innings (17 starts) in 2021.
The Tigers are down to three starting pitchers: Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal — a pair of rookies with innings limits — and veteran Wily Peralta. Fellow rookie Matt Manning was sent down to Triple-A Toledo after his July 9 start, but he is expected to return for the upcoming four-game series against the Texas Rangers, which begins Monday.
Adding Manning back into the mix gives the Tigers four starters, but Mize is currently limited to three innings to protect his health in the jump from 60 games in 2020 to 162 games in 2021. Once the organization eases Mize’s restrictions, Skubal could be forced to trim his workload for a handful of starts.
It’s unclear how the Tigers will fill Urena’s spot in the rotation.
“Hopefully, it’s not too serious,” Hinch said. “I have no idea how long, but we would like to bottle up how he was performing today and have it ready for him whenever he gets back.”
Sending Goodrum to the injured list stems from an in-game situation July 10, when Goodrum fouled a pitch off his left leg. By Saturday’s doubleheader, Hinch didn’t have a choice but to scratch his utility player.
“They told me he’s got a hematoma, which is bleeding,” Hinch said. “It’s some bleeding in his calf, so it’s made him really sore, and it’s spread out, and the body hasn’t absorbed it yet. He’s just uncomfortable moving around. … Hopefully, over the course of his homestand, we can get the soreness out of there and get him back up and running.”
Reyes returns from Toledo to take Goodrum’s spot. He has a .157 batting average, three walks and 25 strikeouts in 27 games with the Tigers this season. He returned from a left intercostal strain July 8 and was sent to the Mud Hens.
To replace Urena, the Tigers called up Lange. He has pitched 18 games in the majors this season, registering a 7.31 ERA, nine walks and 20 strikeouts over 16 innings. He recovered from a right shoulder strain July 7 and was optioned to Triple A.
Will Vest returns
Right-handed reliever Will Vest returned to the Tigers on Saturday after a stint with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners selected the 26-year-old during the Rule 5 draft in December, used him in 32 MLB games this season and designated him for assignment July 12.
Because the Mariners cut Vest from their active roster, he had to be offered back to the Tigers after clearing waivers. (Players selected in the Rule 5 draft — such as 22-year-old outfielder Akil Baddoo — must stay on the 26-man roster for the entire season or get offered back their old club.)
For the Mariners, Vest posted a 6.17 ERA, 18 walks and 27 strikeouts over 35 innings. The Tigers assigned him to Triple-A Toledo.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.