What Detroit Tigers’ Eric Haase thinks about reaching 20 home runs
Detroit Tigers catcher/left fielder Eric Haase talks Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, after his team’s 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
On the injured list since April 10 with a right shoulder strain, the 30-year-old pitched bullpen sessions and live batting practices in Lakeland, Florida, but the Tigers paused his rehabilitation because of low velocity. Still, Teheran wanted to keep trying.
With 25 games remaining, the Tigers officially called it quits.
“Teheran is out for the year, so we can announce that,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Sunday. “He’s not currently throwing. I don’t know if he’s home or still at the Lakeland facility, but he’s getting a lot of opinions on what’s next for him moving forward.”
Teheran allowed one run over five innings in a 5-2 win April 3 against Cleveland at Comerica Park. He previously pitched for the Atlanta Braves (2011-19) and Los Angeles Angels (2020), boasting a 3.80 ERA and 1.224 WHIP across 240 games (236 starts) in his MLB career.
“He threw a bullpen. He threw live BPs,” Hinch said. “The ball wasn’t coming out very well. He was not feeling any discomfort, but he wasn’t himself, so we shut him down.”
When Teheran made the Opening Day roster out of spring training, he earned $3 million. The Tigers signed him to a minor-league contract in February. In spring training, he posted a 5.52 ERA with four walks and 18 strikeouts over 14⅔ innings.
Bad news coming?
The Tigers have been without catcher Jake Rogers since July 19 due to right arm soreness, and his progression toward a full recovery isn’t improving. At the end of August, Hinch said he was “less optimistic” because Rogers’ throwing program wasn’t accelerating.
The latest update seems much worse.
“We’re going to have some answers here in the next few days,” Hinch said. “We’re in the moment where we’re going to get some answers in the coming days. I don’t feel good about it.”
Before landing on the injured list, Rogers played 38 games for the Tigers in 2021. He hit .239 with five doubles, three triples, six home runs, 17 RBIs, 11 walks and 46 walks.
The 26-year-old was acquired from the Houston Astros in the 2017 Justin Verlander trade with fellow prospects Franklin Perez and Daz Cameron.
Lange heats up
Since being recalled Aug. 22 from Triple-A Toledo, righty reliever Alex Lange has posted eight scoreless innings, with five walks, eight strikeouts and one hit-by-pitch to 32 batters faced. Hinch believes the 25-year-old could be one of the Tigers’ best bullpen arms in 2022, as long as his strike-throwing continues to improve.
In the fifth inning of Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Lange struck out two batters — Joey Votto looking with a curveball and Kyle Farmer swinging with a 96 mph fastball — and worked around one walk.
“He wants to go into the offseason as one of the members of our bullpen,” Hinch said. “That’s the way I look at it. He’s pitching for a job next year. It’s not the only opportunity he’s going to have. There will be a competition in the spring. But his stuff plays. We’ve always said it. Everybody has said it. The offspeed pitches are real. He impressed us in spring and has now navigated an up and down season, whether it’s level or performance. This last stretch so far, he’s been very effective and shows the ability to be part of this bullpen moving forward. He’s got a number of appearances left, but I’ve been impressed with his adjustments along the way on the mound.”
Haase hits 20
Catcher Eric Haase, who also plays some left field, unloaded on a fastball from Reds starter Tyler Mahle in the third inning, crushing the ball over the left-center wall for a 3-0 lead. He has 20 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .236 batting average over 78 games.
Haase is the first Tiger to have a 20-homer season while playing at least 60% of his games at catcher since Mickey Tettleton in 1992. The Tigers have two players with 20-plus homers — Haase and Robbie Grossman (21) — for the first time since 2017: Justin Upton (28), Nick Castellanos (26) and Ian Kinsler (22).
“His resiliency has been good,” Hinch said. “It’s one thing to have the power, talent and drive. All that’s expected, especially for a guy with Eric’s background and just the lack of opportunity at this level. I love the fact that he’s been able to do it with expectations starting to raise. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to try to do too much. It’s easy to try to hold on for dear life to this opportunity that he’s been given. But he’s been continuing to get better. He’s a run-producer for us.”
Schoop clobbers Reds
In two games against the Reds, Jonathan Schoop has six hits over 11 at-bats for a .545 average. To get there, he hit one double, one home run and one RBI. During the Tigers’ recent seven-game homestand, Schoop went 5-for-28 (.179) without an extra-base hit.
“All of his at-bats have gone in the right direction,” Hinch said. “I know he gets frustrated when he puts together good at-bats and doesn’t get a hit. His outs are getting a little louder. When he stays inside the strike zone, he’s a completely different hitter. He’s dangerous, and he’s very productive. When he strays outside the strike zone, we see a little bit of the inconsistent performance. But I love when Jonathan’s up when he’s inside the strike zone.”
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.