DETROIT -- Like the rest of the roster, the Tigers' pitching staff has been plagued by injuries almost all season, leaving manager Ron Gardenhire to patch together his starting rotation and bullpen. It's what they'll be doing for at least the next few days, starting with Monday's doubleheader against the
DETROIT -- Like the rest of the roster, the Tigers' pitching staff has been plagued by injuries almost all season, leaving manager Ron Gardenhire to patch together his starting rotation and bullpen. It's what they'll be doing for at least the next few days, starting with Monday's doubleheader against the Yankees at Comerica Park.
The Tigers called up Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie to join the bullpen as the 26th player allowed for doubleheaders. Baez was starting in Erie and had an 0-4 record with a 3.90 ERA in 10 outings.
Baez rewarded the decision by throwing 4 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings in his MLB debut after starter Drew VerHagen was chased in the fourth inning of the 7-4 Game 1 loss. Baez struck out four and walked three.
Gardenhire was pleased with Baez, who entered with a runner on first.
"I think once he settled down a little bit and realized if he made his pitches, he was going to get them out," said Gardenhire. "That's what he did. He started using his pitches and he threw the ball great. That's exactly what we were hoping for. We didn't hope he'd have to come in that early, but that's why we brought him up here, because he's been pitching well and we wanted to see where he was at."
Gardenhire said before the game that Baez won't be staying with the Tigers for more than three or four days.
The Tigers have two spot starters in their first three games this week, starting with VerHagen in Game 1 against the Yankees on Monday. He was solid through the first three innings, but he allowed six consecutive hits, including two homers, to open what became a six-run Yankees fourth inning. VerHagen was pulled after 3 2/3 innings with seven runs allowed and seven hits.
Reliever Artie Lewicki will start on Tuesday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, but the Tigers may not be in this flux for long.
Gardenhire said Francisco Liriano, who went on the disabled list on May 29 with a right hamstring strain, will have a rehab assignment of three or four innings before making his return to the Tigers' rotation. Gardenhire said his biggest concern is making sure Liriano, 34, can field his position when he comes back.
Gardenhire also said he was impressed with Michael Fulmer's start on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Fulmer was charged with four runs over six-plus innings, but he had gone through the first five scoreless. His ERA rose to 4.73, and he's lost three of his last four decisions.
"I told him on the mound, 'You really pitched your [butt] off today. You gave us a chance to win a baseball game, a Major League baseball game,'" said Gardenhire.
Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.