Boyd gets day off as Detroit gives arms a last look

Detroit Tigers

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Matthew Boyd has nothing left to prove at Spring Training.

The left-hander was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday night, a 4-1 win over the Blue Jays, in part to allow the Tigers to look at other pitchers competing to make the Opening Day roster.

“Matt’s done everything that we really wanted him to do physically to get ready for the season,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We need to take a look at a few people. We’re trying to prioritize how to do that while also getting ready for the season.”

“We’re going to pay attention to extra rest,” Hinch said. “We’re about to set our rotation order, and all of that impacts the workload. We’re trying to pay attention to short and long term, and everything in between.”

Another potential reason for Boyd not to pitch was that the Tigers travel to Toronto in mid-April, and might want to avoid giving the Blue Jays a look at one of their key starting pitchers.

Boyd agreed to a one-year contract in December after being non-tendered by the Tigers a year earlier following flexor tendon surgery on his left arm. The injury limited him to 10 relief appearances with Seattle in 2022, where he went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA.

Detroit’s Opening Day starter in 2020 and 2021, Boyd has worked 13 innings during Spring Training over four starts, allowing five runs, nine hits and three walks, along with 21 strikeouts.

Boyd made 143 starts in his previous tenure with the Tigers, pitching to a 4.87 ERA.

Detroit is looking at the 32-year old as a reliable starter on the mound and a valuable presence in the clubhouse who’s eager to mentor young pitchers.

Impressive return
Catcher Jake Rogers earned a roster spot after spending all of last year rehabbing an elbow injury and is receiving high praise from Hinch.

Hinch, though, didn’t regard Rogers with quite so much aplomb throughout the day. “I think he’s been, you know, underwhelming this spring,” Hinch said, grinning broadly, when Rogers walked past him in the dugout before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays.

This spring marked Rogers’ first competitive games since July 18, 2021, when he was sidelined by the elbow injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery later in the year. Rogers spent 2022 rehabbing at the Tigers’ Spring Training complex, often alongside other pitchers and friends who were recovering from arm injuries.

Coming back to the field after missing more than a year and a half, Rogers reported early to Spring Training to make sure he could get himself Major League ready.

“The biggest thing was getting that timing back for hitting. Getting that locked in, being ready for the season,” he said. “Catching, I could catch all year last year, so I worked on framing it and stuff. So that wasn’t really a worry for me. I knew that would come back pretty quickly. I feel good and I’m happy where I’m at.”

Rogers found out Friday that he had made the team.

“Man, it was pretty cool,” he said. “A.J. told me right around lunch. I was pretty happy. He came and got me, and took me [into his office] and said I made it. It was a pretty big deal. It’s the ‘hard work pays off’ kind of deal.”

Let the honors begin
The Tigers will have a pregame ceremony before Sunday’s 2023 Spring Training finale in Lakeland against the Rays to celebrate retiring slugger Miguel Cabrera.

Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012, and won four batting titles in five years from 2011-15. In 2,699 Major League games, Cabrera is batting .308 with 507 homers, 1,847 RBIs and 3,088 hits.

Fans are asked to be in their seats by 12:40 for the ceremony.

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