Boyd spent Monday evening undergoing further evaluation.
It’s the second early exit for Boyd this season, having left an April 29 start against the White Sox in the second inning. In that case, the cause was left knee tendinitis, and he returned two weeks later after missing a turn in the rotation. He had made every start on time since then, though he struggled in four of those six outings before Monday.
“It’s very disappointing on the night,” manager A.J. Hinch said, “because he was throwing the ball pretty well, probably the best fastball that he’s had in the last month. He said he felt great, and then this snuck up on us.”
Boyd worked in and out of trouble in the first two innings and struck out Michael A. Taylor to begin the third. Back-to-back singles from Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana sent Boyd off the mound to back up third base. As soon as he returned to the mound, he called for Tigers head athletic trainer Doug Teter.
“He came into that inning, was throwing well, and after a few pitches called us out,” Hinch said. “He said he felt a little something in his tricep. And then Doug asked him: ‘Was it just that one pitch or has it been the entire inning?’ He said the entire inning it just feels funny.
“So we immediately removed him from the game. That’s going to set forth some tests and things like that.”
Boyd did not attempt a warmup pitch, talking briefly with Teter before the two headed off the mound and back to the clubhouse. Joe Jiménez, pitching for the fourth time in five days, replaced Boyd and stranded both runners. Two innings later, however, reliever Alex Lange also left the game with right shoulder discomfort, after giving up a walk, an RBI single and a double while recording only one out.
“I think Lange is going to end up on the injured list, from the initial diagnosis,” Hinch said. “He’s had some shoulder issues.”
The Tigers were able to keep Boyd off the injured list after his April knee injury thanks to off-days and a relatively healthy rotation. But they are facing a plethora of issues lately. Spencer Turnbull is on the IL with a right forearm strain and is just beginning his rehab process this week. Detroit had been filling his spot with bullpen games, including Kyle Funkhouser in a spot start Sunday against the White Sox. José Ureña further taxed the Tigers’ bullpen with a second-inning exit Saturday, eventually leading to catcher Jake Rogers and infielder Harold Castro pitching the final two innings.
“This one bothers me,” Hinch said, “because it’s hard to think [he can] come out of the game on Monday and then pitch on Saturday. We’re going to have to do something. I don’t know quite yet what that plan will be, but we’ll be very cautious with him.
“We’ve talked about injuries throughout the league and also on our team for the last month or so. There’s a lot of concern around the league, so we’re going to be very conservative with this, but I don’t know what that is quite yet.”
Rony García would be an option to start, having done so at Triple-A Toledo, but he injured his left knee in pregame warmups last week and is expected to undergo surgery to repair his patella. Veteran swingman Erasmo Ramírez is on the IL with a right pectoralis strain. Veteran starter Julio Teheran is still a long way from a return after going on the IL in April with a right shoulder strain.
The Tigers don’t have much help available at Toledo, where injuries have depleted the Mud Hens as well. Top pitching prospect Matt Manning is by all indications healthy, but he struggled through a rough opening month before looking better in his most recent start. He’s currently scheduled to start for Toledo on Tuesday at Indianapolis, but could well be pushed to make the jump to the big leagues out of necessity.