Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Pineda leaves game with fractured right middle finger

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers right-hander Michael Pineda departed Saturday’s start with a right hand contusion.

The 33-year-old tossed a fastball to Ramon Urias to get the first out in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. The ball — hit with a 105.9 mph exit velocity — ricocheted off Pineda’s middle finger on his right hand and was fielded by second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

After Saturday’s 3-0 win, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch announced Pineda fractured his right middle finger. The organization isn’t sure if Pineda needs surgery, so the timetable for his return is unclear.

“He’ll go through a battery of tests,” Hinch said. “He’ll see a couple experts. We’ll see how long it takes him to heal up. Disappointing news, to say the least.”

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Following the comebacker, Hinch and athletic trainer Doug Teter walked to the mound to check on Pineda. A conversation on the field determined Pineda needed to exit after 20 pitches.

Four members of their starting rotation have suffered injuries less than a quarter of the way into the year: Pineda, Casey Mize (right elbow sprain), Matt Manning (right shoulder inflammation) and Tyler Alexander (left elbow sprain).

“We’re going to need some help,” Hinch said. “It’s an opportunity for somebody. You hate to look at it that way, because that means somebody had to either falter performance-wise or, in this case, health-wise. But we’ll have somebody lined up to start.”

Manning is expected to rejoin the Tigers after next week’s rehab start with Triple-A Toledo. For his third rehab outing, Manning will attempt to complete five innings on 70-80 pitches.

“We’ll make the best decision for Matty,” Hinch said. “We haven’t talked about it, but we need to make sure he’s good. It might feel better to write his name on the card, but if he’s not ready to compete at this level or go deeper into games, you can start chasing your tail in the wrong way.”

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In Saturday’s outing, Pineda retired all four batters he faced.

He threw 14 of 20 pitches for strikes, recording two swings and misses and three called strikes, all with his fastball.

The nine-year MLB veteran boasts a 3.22 ERA with four walks and 12 strikeouts across 22⅓ innings in five starts this season.

Right-hander Wily Peralta, who started 18 games last year, replaced Pineda and built on his season-long success with 2⅔ scoreless innings. In 2022, he has a 0.59 ERA across 15⅓ innings in nine games (one start).

“I’m able to do whatever they need me to do,” Peralta said. “I’m here for that. I told A.J., since Day 1 that I got to spring training, whatever they need me to do, I’ll be able to do it. If they feel like I need to start, I will be able to do it. Anything that I can do to help the team, I will do it.”

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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