Detroit Tigers aren’t stalling Matt Manning’s return to rotation. Here’s why

Detroit Free Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — On Sunday morning, the Detroit Tigers were trying to decide what to do about the pitching plan for two of their four games against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field.

The decision for the starting pitchers Tuesday and Thursday revolved around the bullpen usage in Sunday’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins. Using six relievers in the 6-3 loss in extra innings provided an answer.

Right-hander Matt Manning will return from the injured list and start Tuesday.

“Quite a bit of things,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We looked at where to insert Manning and where we were coming in. If you looked at how the Twins series ended, we had to use a lot of pitching, so that factored in.”

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If the bullpen hadn’t been taxed in Sunday’s loss, the Tigers could have employed a bullpen-only game Tuesday against the Rangers. Then, Manning would have started Thursday’s series finale.

Instead, right-hander Reese Olson will start Thursday.

“Do we go with the bullpen game against a really talented offense?” Hinch said, explaining the Tigers’ process. “Do we give Manning a couple extra rest days? We could have given Olson a couple extra rest days. When all was said and done, we think the best option is to have them pitch when they’re going to and have a full bullpen when we need them.”

The 25-year-old has been on the injured list since April 12, one day after a comebacker fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He has a 4.63 ERA with three walks and seven strikeouts over 11⅔ innings in two starts.

Manning started three games with Triple-A Toledo in his rehab assignment, allowing one unearned run with eight walks and nine strikeouts in 8⅔ innings. At times, he struggled to command his pitches.

“Effectiveness is going to factor in the most,” Hinch said. “We know he’s in condition to do enough, but obviously, it’s a whole different challenge for him to come back to the big leagues and face this team.”

Before activating Manning, the Tigers will need to make corresponding 26-man and 40-man roster moves.

Three rehabbing starters

Left-hander Tarik Skubal (left elbow strain) will start Wednesday with Triple-A Toledo for the fifth start of his rehab assignment, which began June 4. The 26-year-old must be activated from the injured list by July 4, so this could be his final outing before returning to the Tigers. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since Aug. 1 2022, because of flexor tendon surgery.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (left index finger pulley rupture) will start Thursday with Triple-A Toledo for the first start of his rehab assignment. The 30-year-old threw a 50-pitch batting practice Saturday, and after the session, he said, “Everything was perfect, feeling-wise, body-wise, shoulder-wise, finger-wise.” There’s a chance Rodriguez needs just one rehab start before returning to the Tigers.

Right-hander Alex Faedo (right middle finger discomfort) will start Tuesday with High-A West Michigan for the first start of his rehab assignment. The 27-year-old has been on the 15-day injured list since June 3, retroactive to May 31. He got a portion of his fingernail removed in the first week of June.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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