Why Detroit Tigers shut down pitching prospect Joey Wentz in Double-A Erie

Detroit Free Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Detroit Tigers left-handed prospect Joey Wentz won’t pitch again in the 2021 season.

The 23-year-old isn’t injured, but the organization decided to protect his arm from overuse in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He underwent the procedure in March 2020 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

Wentz returned to the mound in May for organized competition.

“Joey’s had a complete season for him,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Thursday. “(The Double-A) season ends this Sunday. Joey had done everything we asked him to do. We do think fatigue had set in a little bit, as we expected, so we proactively ended his season without the last start or two.”

‘PEOPLE BELIEVE IN ME’: Jonathan Schoop embraces ‘different’ pressure, talks defense in 2022

20/20 VISION: Will Robbie Grossman be Tigers’ first 20/20 guy since 2009? ‘God willing’

Between Low-A Lakeland (five starts) and Double-A Erie (13 starts), Wentz has a 4.50 ERA, 41 walks and 82 strikeouts over 72 innings. He made his final appearance Sept. 7, allowing two runs over 4⅓ innings the Altoona Curve, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wentz’s production improved upon his transition from Lakeland to Erie in late June, despite continued issues with his inconsistent command. In 13 starts for the SeaWolves, Wentz posted a 3.71 ERA, 33 walks and 58 strikeouts over 53⅓ innings.

He had a 6.75 ERA, eight walks and 24 strikeouts over his five outings in Lakeland.

[ Joey Wentz is back from Tommy John surgery: ‘I feel great’ ]

Wentz is ranked as the Tigers’ No. 13 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He is considered the team’s fifth best pitching prospect, behind Jackson Jobe (No. 3), Ty Madden (No. 5), Dylan Smith (No. 7) and Reese Olson (No. 11).

The Tigers acquired Wentz and outfielder Travis Demeritte from the Atlanta Braves in July 2019 for reliever Shane Greene. After joining a new franchise, Wentz pitched his final five games of the 2019 season in Double-A alongside Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning and Alex Faedo. He recorded a 2.10 ERA, four walks and 37 strikeouts over 25⅔ innings.

Jimenez ‘passed all his tests’

Right-handed reliever Joe Jimenez is making significant progress in his return from a positive COVID-19 test, which forced the Tigers to put him on the 10-day injured list Sept. 7 in Pittsburgh.

Jimenez recently reported to Triple-A Toledo.

“He can play catch. He can run and do his conditioning,” Hinch said. “He’s going to get off the mound over the weekend. He’s cleared to do activities. He can enter facilities. He’s passed all his tests. He’s doing fine.”

CANDY DELIVERS: Jeimer Candelario’s secret: ‘When you hit doubles, home runs will come’

INJURY: Jose Cisnero slips on stairs, gets eight stitches, lands on injured list

Jimenez, 26, owns a 6.15 ERA, 32 walks and 51 strikeouts over 41 innings in 48 appearances this season. He will need at least one rehab assignment appearance with the Mud Hens to get comfortable on the mound after missing more than a week in quarantine.

“Joe is going to get himself ramped back up into physical ability to pitch in a game,” Hinch said. “He will have a rehab assignment of at least one game at some point, but that’s a lot of time and a lot of energy that needs to be recouped to get back into a game competitively.”

Bench coach George Lombard came back from his positive COVID-19 test ahead of Thursday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Like Jimenez, he produced a positive result in Pittsburgh.

Left-handed reliever Miguel Del Pozo also tested positive for the coronavirus in Sept. 10, which automatically sent him to the injured list. Del Pozo “has not quite cleared anything” in the return process, Hinch said.

From Double-A to MLB

When Erie’s season concludes Sunday, SeaWolves manager Arnie Beyeler will join Hinch’s coaching staff. (The season for Triple-A Toledo, managed by Tom Prince, lasts until Oct. 3 — the same day the Tigers are scheduled for their regular-season finale.)

“He’ll be with us for the remainder of the major league season as an extra coach for us,” Hinch said.

Tigers pitcher Wily Peralta molds slider, hopes ‘teams will call’ in offseason ]

To go with plenty of coaching experience in the minor leagues, Beyeler served as the first base and outfield coach for the Boston Red Sox from 2013-15, winning the 2013 World Series championship. He was the Baltimore Orioles’ first base and outfield coach in 2019 but was not retained after a one-year stint.

Beyeler played six seasons for the Tigers in the minor leagues, from 1986-91.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

Articles You May Like

Why Robbie Grossman made a ‘big splash’ in his first season for Detroit Tigers
Evaluating each Detroit Tigers player as team aims for winning record, playoffs in 2022
Detroit Tigers: What are the options for free agent catchers?
Bally Sports Detroit agrees to multi-year extensions with Tigers, Red Wings for broadcasts
Detroit Tigers’ 2022 Opening Day roster prediction 1.0: Big name could fill shortstop void

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *