Tigers Racking Up Pitcher Injuries in Spring Training
The Tigers need to get out of Lakeland as soon as possible if the amount of injured pitchers they have is any indication.
Starting at the big league level, Ron Gardenhire has admitted that veteran starter Mike Fiers could start the season on the disabled list, or at the very least stay in Lakeland when camp breaks later this month for extended spring training. Fiers injured his back in an early spring workout and it forced the 32-year-old to miss a scheduled spring start on Tuesday.
Fiers has said he could pitch if a major league start was coming up, but the team is more focused on keeping him healthy for the majority of the season, as opposed to rushing him back in time for the start of the major league season.
If Fiers misses the start of the regular season that would likely make Detroit's rotation out of camp look like this. Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Fulmer, Francisco Liriano, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris.
After Fiers, the Tigers have lost two of their top pitching prospects in a span of 72 hours for considerable chunks of time. In fact, according to MLBPipeline these guys are their top two prospects.
The Tigers number one prospect, Franklin Perez, has been lost for at least 12 weeks after suffering a lat strain in a spring training game Sunday. Perez was acquired from Houston as a part of the Justin Verlander trade and was expected to start in AA-Erie out of spring training. With a strong enough showing in Erie and in AAA-Toledo it is possible Perez could see some major league time late this season as a 20-year-old.
If Fiers and Perez weren't enough, the Tigers also got word that their number two prospect Matt Manning suffered an injury that will keep him out of the start of his 2018 minor league campaign. Manning suffered an oblique strain on Wednesday that the team is currently calling "low-grade". In order to protect Manning the Tigers are allowing him to rest until he is pain free and only then will he resume his throwing program.
Manning is 20 years old and is projected to start his season in low-A West Michigan.
Opening day for the Detroit Tigers is March 29 hosting the Pirates. The spring training season ends on the 27th with a road game against the Rays.