Tigers’ Matthew Boyd retires 13 straight in rehab start for Toledo

Detroit News
Steve Kornacki |  Special to The Detroit News

Toledo, Ohio — Detroit Tigers starter Matthew Boyd surrendered a bloop single to the game’s leadoff batter, and proceeded to retire the next 13 St. Paul Saints in order before coming out nearing his pre-determined pitch-count limit.

Boyd, making his third rehabilitation start for the Toledo Mud Hens after going on the injured list with left arm discomfort over two months ago, struck out five consecutive batters at one point and six total (all swinging) Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.

Eric Haase, also on a rehab assignment coming back from a right abdominal strain, caught Boyd and all nine innings of the 2-0 win. He said throwing more breaking balls than usual was part of the plan for Boyd.

“The slider in the past has been his go-to pitch,” said Haase. “He threw a lot more changeups, a lot more breaking balls today.

“His slider really opened up his fastball. Quite a few of those strikeouts were on fastballs, where he’d normally go slider.”

Boyd threw two shutout innings in his first start for Toledo, three shutout innings the last time, and put zeroes on the scoreboard for 4.1 innings in Tuesday’s effort. He threw 56 pitches in this outing, which was viewed in-person by Tigers general manager Al Avila.

“I saw his velocity on the (score)board up to 93 (mph) and his command was very good,” said Toledo manager Tom Prince, who also complimented Boyd’s off-speed pitches.

Boyd was not available for comment after the game.

He’s progressed roughly one additional inning for each rehab start, and likely will be limited to around 70 pitches in his next start, which could come for Detroit.

Boyd (3-6, 3.44 ERA) had thrown 8.1 consecutive shutout innings before coming out with that discomfort in the third inning of his last start June 14 in Kansas City.

Steve Kornacki is a freelance writer.

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