DETROIT — Just as Matthew Boyd had gotten back into the heart of the Tigers’ rotation for the stretch run, he could be out for the rest of this season, if not longer. The left-hander was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night against the Rays with recurring elbow soreness.
It’s the same issue that sidelined Boyd from mid-June until Aug. 29. He was readying for what would have been his third start back when he felt discomfort while playing catch Thursday at Comerica Park.
Tyler Alexander, who had been in Detroit’s rotation but was set to be skipped this turn due to off-days, stepped up to start Friday. The bigger issue is Boyd, who will go on the 10-day injured list while he undergoes tests to determine the extent of the issue.
“I’m always concerned when it’s a recurring issue,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “Obviously, he’d had rehab starts and starts back in the big leagues where he felt perfectly fine, and then yesterday playing catch, [he] did not feel as good.
“He’s going to miss at least a couple starts. We’ll see if he can make it back [before] the end of the year, but we need to get him further testing and get to the bottom of why this reappeared.”
Boyd went four innings in both of his starts since his return from the injured list. He held the Blue Jays to a pair of solo homers on Aug. 29 before allowing five runs in Cincinnati last Saturday despite six strikeouts.
Until this year, Boyd had been one of the most durable members of the Tigers’ pitching staff, making every turn in the rotation from mid-July 2017 until his initial injury a few months ago. His only absence in that stretch was a three-day stint on the paternity list in August ’19.
The Tigers already had one worst-case elbow injury to a starter last month, when Spencer Turnbull underwent Tommy John surgery. If Boyd’s injury lingers into next season, Detroit will go into the offseason with 2021 rookies Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning and Alexander as its returning starters. Wily Peralta is a free agent, as is José Ureña. That could add pressure on the Tigers to seek pitching help on the free-agent or trade market.
Boyd, meanwhile, is eligible for arbitration this winter. His injury further complicates the potential decision for the Tigers on whether to bring back the 30-year-old for what would be his final season before free agency, or non-tender him.
Trammell joins coaching staff
Hall of Famer Alan Trammell’s return from induction ceremonies in Cooperstown this week took a detour through Detroit, where he’ll join Hinch’s coaching staff for this weekend. It’s a twist of roles from 2003, when Hinch was a backup catcher during Trammell’s first season as Tigers manager.
“It’ll be a little awkward bossing Tram around in the dugout,” Hinch said, “but I’ll do my best. I’ll go back to 2003, when he used to yell at me a little bit behind the scenes, and return the favor. Eighteen years is a long time to carry that burden, but I get paybacks.”
It’s actually old hat for Trammell, who jumped in as a coach from time to time for previous managers Ron Gardenhire and Brad Ausmus when coaches have missed a game or a series for family or personal reasons. Trammell frequently travels to Comerica Park anyway in his role as a Tigers special assistant.
Trammell joins a coaching staff shortened by COVID-19 issues. Bench coach George Lombard is back in Michigan but away from the team after testing positive on Monday in Pittsburgh. Pitching coach Chris Fetter and quality control coach Josh Paul are both quarantined through this weekend due to contact tracing.
Rosoff helps out as bullpen catcher
Tigers Minor League catcher Jon Rosoff got a call to the big leagues for a weekend, though not in a playing capacity. The Double-A Erie backstop is joining the Major League club this weekend as an extra bullpen catcher. He’s filling in for Jeremy Carroll, who is away from the team while quarantined due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
Rosoff joined the Tigers’ organization as a nondrafted free agent in 2018 out of the U.S. Military Academy.
“Twice in the last two games, I’ve tried to get two guys up [warming in the bullpen] at the same time, and it’s pretty tricky,” Hinch said. “And [reliever] Kyle Funkhouser was serving as the extra catcher down there in the last game in Pittsburgh, which really got us over the hump of getting an extra catcher here.
“[Rosoff] will be a team employee for the weekend, and not a Double-A catcher. It’s a great story for him with his time in the military. [Erie manager] Arnie Beyeler raved about him, so it’s kind of nice to reward him with a weekend in the big leagues.”