AJ Hinch: Michael Lorenzen’s no-hitter proof of Tigers’ commitment to development

Detroit News

Detroit — As Michael Lorenzen completed the 14th no-hitter in Philadelphia Phillies history on Wednesday night, AJ Hinch couldn’t help but feel like a proud papa.

“When he started to talking about simplifying his approach yesterday and just trusting J.T. Realmuto to just call pitches, there’s a little small tear that came on my face,” the Detroit Tigers manager said before Thursday’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins.

“That was like, we did it! We did it!”

Thus, another chapter of Lorenzen’s borderline unbelievable story was written. In just his second start after being traded from the Tigers at the deadline, Lorenzen threw 124 pitches, struck out five and walked four to throw the fourth no-hitter of this MLB season.

Hinch said Lorenzen’s story only continues to validate the development that Detroit is putting in at the Major-League level.

“He came here, he wanted to get better, he got better, he got rewarded with the All-Star nod, and then now he’s pitching towards the playoffs,” Hinch said. “We want that pitching toward the playoffs part to be here in Detroit, but the overall commitment to making players better at this level — it’s a prime example.

“And it doesn’t have to only be on the pitching side. I think that it gets a lot of attention based on Michael, but when you sign here, when you come up through our minor leagues, or when you get here, development at the Major League level is real.”

Lorenzen, 31, signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Tigers last offseason after a one-year stop with the Los Angeles Angels in 2022, his first as a full-time starter. He finished the season with a 4.24 ERA before signing with Detroit.

In Detroit, Lorenzen made 18 starts with a 3.58 ERA and 1.098 WHIP over 105.2 innings. As recently as 2019, he was getting significant work as an outfielder and hitter. In sports, there’s always talk about how quickly things can change — usually in a negative sense — but Lorenzen’s journey with the Tigers (and now the Phillies) is proof that can go the other way.

“It doesn’t have to be just for the young prospect who comes up,” Hinch said. “Something like (Spencer Torkelson or Riley Greene) the last couple of years, Akil (Baddoo) is a Rule 5 pick. The next wave of prospects that are coming, there’s a real commitment to pushing players here. And I think when you have a success story like that with Michael, it just gives you more energy as a coach or as a staff member or as an organization to continue to preach that.

“We should never not try to get better. Miguel (Cabrera had) three hits yesterday, he’s gonna still be trying to get better at 40 years old. I think that accomplishment by a guy like Mike is a good reminder for us.”

Disciplined Tork

Torkelson had already homered twice when he came to bat in the eighth inning Wednesday night, with the Tigers holding an 8-4 lead, a runner on third and just one out. He got ahead in the count 3-0 and then received the green light as Twins right-hander Jordan Balazovic delivered a four-seamer just inches above the strike zone. He took it for ball four.

As impressive as his night at the plate was to that point, the discipline Torkelson showed in his final at-bat was a true sign of maturation, Hinch said.

“The 3-0 green light that he took — that’s, I mean, anybody who’s sit in the box, you feel pretty sexy, you feel good, you’ve done a few things, you wanna swing and he laid off a borderline pitch,” Hinch said.

“Whether he was actually swinging or not, he’s the only one that could tell you, but the green light was given to him, and yet, he stays disciplined. I think Tork’s maturity has been ongoing for a long time. I think last night is a good example, but it’s not the first time.”

Around the horn

Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull (neck) threw 4.1 innings of rehab work in a 10-6 win for the Toledo Mud Hens Wednesday night. He gave up three runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts. “I personally haven’t seen Spencer, but the report was that his stuff was still pretty good, got his pitch count into the seventies, which was important, and now, we’ll do it again in five or six days.”

On deck: Boston Red Sox

▶ Series: Three games at Fenway Park in Boston

▶ First pitch: Friday — 7:10 p.m.; Saturday — 4:10 p.m.; Sunday — 12:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Friday-Saturday — Bally Sports Detroit/97.1 FM; Sunday — Peacock/97.1 FM

Probables: Friday — TBA vs. LHP Tarik Skubal (2-1, 3.67 ERA); Saturday — RHP Brayan Bello (8-6, 3.64 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Manning (3-4, 5.06 ERA); Sunday — RHP Kutter Crawford (5-6, 3.80 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (8-5, 2.75 ERA)

Scouting report

▶ Skubal, Tigers: Skubal has seen an increased workload since returning earlier this year, but hit a new season-high with 88 pitches in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s given up no earned runs in four of his six starts this season but has been rouged up in the other two outings, giving up four earned runs to Miami on July 30 and seven earned runs to Kansas City on July 18.

▶ TBA, Red Sox: No starter has been announced yet for Boston.

nbianchi@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

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