Detroit Tigers roster moves, injury updates entering final week of season’s first half

Detroit Free Press

CHICAGO — The Detroit Tigers began a stretch of 19 games in 17 days at the start of July.

They have nine games left over eight days until the MLB All-Star break allows the organization to reset the pitching department.

The latest transaction came Sunday, when the Tigers optioned right-handed starter Garrett Hill to Triple-A Toledo. Right-handed reliever Drew Carlton was called up from the Mud Hens to replace him.

“We want to have as many arms as we can available today and then obviously tomorrow with the doubleheader,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Sunday. “We’re just churning this roster the best we can to keep the most available arms during the toughest stretch of games that we’re playing in a row.”

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The decision to add Carlton wasn’t difficult. He was one of two relievers on the 40-man roster — along with righty Angel De Jesus — in Toledo and has the most MLB experience.

Maneuvering this stretch of games, though, hasn’t been a simple task for Hinch, pitching coach Chris Fetter and assistant pitching coach Juan Nieves, especially when factoring in injuries.

“The conversations are nonstop,” Hinch said.

Carlton, 26, has a 6.91 ERA with six walks and 30 strikeouts across 27⅓ innings in 21 games (one start) for Toledo. In his last outing, July 4, Carlton allowed eight runs over two innings. He is stretched out to about 50 pitches, so he can provide bullpen depth.

“He’s got a good slider and is going to throw strikes,” Hinch said. “Command has always been one of his strengths.”

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After Drew Hutchison starts Sunday, the Tigers travel to Kansas City for four games in three days against the Royals. Michael Pineda (Game 1) and Alex Faedo (Game 2) are scheduled to start Monday, with Faedo serving as the 27th player. Tarik Skubal will start Tuesday, followed by Beau Brieske on Wednesday.

Then, it’s a four-game series in Cleveland.

Hill was supposed to start Thursday against the Guardians, but since he has been optioned out, the Tigers need a starting pitcher for the series opener. Right-hander Elvin Rodriguez, currently in Triple-A, appears likely to start.

“We have a whole series to map that out,” Hinch said. “But we’re likely to have a bullpen day on the back end of that series on Sunday (July 17). Right now, we’re penciling in a one or two or three inning stint for Brieske, and then the rest be in the bullpen.”

Hill is the leading candidate to start July 21 — after the All-Star break — as the 27th player for the doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics. The 26-year-old allowed six runs across five innings in Saturday’s 8-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Rony García makes progress

Right-hander Rony García, most recently serving as a starting pitcher, is scheduled to throw a bullpen Monday, his first bullpen since the Tigers placed him on the injured list July 3, retroactive to June 30, with right shoulder soreness.

“The process has been good,” García said Sunday.

He needs a rehab assignment in Toledo before returning to the Tigers, meaning he is unlikely to be activated before the All-Star break. He has started seven of his 15 games this season, with a 4.38 ERA, 13 walks and 48 strikeouts in 48⅓ innings.

Two days after García’s June 29 start, he felt a pinch in his shoulder while playing catch on the field. He wasn’t able to throw, citing discomfort, and thought he suffered a serious injury, but the Tigers’ medical staff diagnosed him with a minor injury.

Now, García feels healthy.

“I’m getting stronger and better as the days pass by,” García said.

Injury updates

• Right-handed reliever José Cisnero (right shoulder strain) pitched a scoreless fourth inning Saturday for Toledo. He was scheduled to pitch Sunday for back-to-back appearances. After that, he will have completed four outings with the Mud Hens. The 33-year-old seems likely to join the Tigers in Cleveland before the All-Star break.

• Outfielder Austin Meadows (right and left Achilles strains) will not be activated from the injured list until he plays four or five games in a row for the Mud Hens. He did not play Friday or Saturday due to continued soreness. The Tigers initially planned for Meadows to join the team Monday in Kansas City, but the 27-year-old will not return to the majors until at least the Cleveland series. He is set to travel Monday with the Mud Hens from Omaha, Nebraska, to St. Paul, Minnesota.

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• Right-handed starter Matt Manning (right shoulder inflammation) will begin his rehab assignment Thursday with Low-A Lakeland. He could make an appearance with Toledo next Sunday, along with García and Faedo, to get in-game reps before the break.

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

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