Alex Faedo starting at Double-A Erie? Trade contingencies force temporary relocation

Detroit News

Pittsburgh — If you happened to check out the lineup Wednesday for the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate in Erie, you might have been alarmed at the starting battery.

Alex Faedo got the start and Donny Sands was behind the plate. They were not demoted from their Triple-A assignments. Nothing like that.

With Triple-A Toledo playing in Des Moines, Iowa, the Tigers needed to have a couple of players nearby as contingencies against losing players before Tuesday’s trade deadline. You don’t need a GPS to know Erie is a lot closer to Pittsburgh than Des Moines.

So, Faedo and Sands found their way to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and waited to hear if they were going to Pittsburgh or Erie — the two cities roughly128 miles apart. Reliever Trey Wingenter, who had been optioned while the team was in Miami, was still with the club and was activated to replace Michael Lorenzen, who was traded to the Phillies.

“Eduardo (Rodriguez) was going to start (Wednesday) until he wasn’t going to start,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We’d already told Reese Olson that he was going to Friday. So if Eduardo had been traded, we could’ve done anything from having a bullpen game to bringing up a pitcher from our minor-league system or even use Reese, who would be on normal rest.”

Sands would have been called up if the Tigers ended up trading a position player. After the deadline passed and there was no need to activate the contingency plan, they didn’t want Faedo to miss a start. Thus, he got his work in Wednesday against Double-A Harrisburg.

Faedo, who made a strong spot start for the Tigers on July 23, is eligible to rejoin the Tigers Aug. 8. As a trade replacement, though, the 15-day option cycle would have been waived.

Back to normal?

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror and the Tigers all but out of contention in the Central Division, what’s next? Is it time to start giving looks and opportunities to some of the prospects knocking on the door — like Parker Meadows, Colt Keith, Justyn-Henry Malloy, Sands and others?

Maybe not just yet.

“I’m not sure what’s ahead,” Hinch said. “We will reconvene when we get back to Detroit and lay out our options both rotation-wise and we’ll see what opportunities there are for position players. I just don’t know the answer what the next two months will entail with our guys.”

The schedule isn’t conducive to breaking in prospects. The Tigers’ next four series are against playoff teams — Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Boston and Minnesota again. Series against the Chicago Cubs, Houston and the New York Yankees loom at the end of the month.

“We have to start playing better,” Hinch said. “We have these stretches where we’ve been very competitive and looked really good. And then we fall into those three or four game stretches where things don’t go our way. That’s really my entire focus right now.

“The players who are going to get the opportunities every day are going to have to take the lead.”

Around the horn

Reliever Will Vest, out since June 27 with a lower-leg strain, made a rehab appearance Tuesday night for Toledo. He gave up two runs on a walk and one hit, with two strikeouts.

… Right-handed starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull (neck) will make his second third rehab start Friday. The first two were with High-A West Michigan. On Friday he will face Triple-A hitters with Toledo in Des Moines.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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