Tigers adjust pitching plan, prepare contingencies as Lorenzen, Rodriguez await trade fate

Detroit News

Miami — AJ Hinch knew it would raise a red flag when the Tigers sent out their pitching plans for the two-game series in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday. But there was no sense trying to hide the obvious.

Instead of Eduardo Rodriguez and Michael Lorenzen pitching on turn in those two games, Matt Manning will start Tuesday with Rodriguez penciled in Wednesday.

Maybe it has something to do with the trade deadline Tuesday?

“It has everything to do with it,” Hinch said. “We don’t want Eduardo dealing with the unknown. I have no idea what’s going to happen. The trade deadline is 6 p.m. and we play at 7. It’s totally unfair to him to have to juggle both.

“So we eliminated all that stress.”

The expectation is that Lorenzen and Rodriguez will both be traded. Most contending teams need to bolster their starting pitching. Lorenzen, in the midst of his first All-Star season, is on a one-year deal. Rodriguez has three years and $49 million left on his contract, but he is expected to opt-out of that deal this winter.

“Anything can happen, so I’m preparing to start on normal five-days rest no matter what,” Lorenzen said on Sunday. “So I’m prepping for that and making sure my body is in a good spot. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything from AJ or Scott (Harris, president) so in my mind, I just have to prepare for the start, whenever that is.”

If he remains with the Tigers, that start would be Friday.

“If my last start as a Tiger was Thursday against the Angels, then it’s been great,” he said. “I’ve loved every second of it. But, you know, it’s good to be wanted. This isn’t anything bad. I’ve been pretty relaxed through it all.”

There are certainly contingencies in place if both get traded. Joey Wentz is already back up from Toledo and is expected to stay in the rotation. Reese Olson could start on Wednesday if Rodriguez is traded. Alex Faedo, who made a spot start on July 23, can be recalled after Aug. 7.

Hinch, though, isn’t committing to anything yet.

“In all transparency, we have made no plans past the Pittsburgh series because of the unknown about what it could look like,” he said. “We’re in a good position around the deadline because of the days off (Monday and Thursday). We’re going to have to juggle some things, or we may not.

“I’m just trying to make it as stress-free as I can on the players as it get closer.”

Lorenzen already has packed up his place in Detroit, waiting on what seems inevitable. He was asked if he’d be happy if he ended up staying with the Tigers.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Michigan is really incredible. I’ve been blown away by the beauty of Michigan. I didn’t really know it. I’ve never been able to appreciate it coming in for a three-day series and then taking off. Being able to drive around the city and around the different cities and checking it out – I love it.

“The fan base has been great. The fans have shown up. I love the stadium, the environment, the clubhouse. Everything has been great. I’ve loved my time here.”

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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