The injury woes that have halted Franklin Perez’s promising pitching career since joining the Tigers organization have struck again. The 21-year-old right-hander, Detroit’s third-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the 78th-ranked prospect in Pipeline’s Top 100 overall, will miss the start of the Minor League season with right shoulder
The injury woes that have halted Franklin Perez’s promising pitching career since joining the Tigers organization have struck again. The 21-year-old right-hander, Detroit’s third-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the 78th-ranked prospect in Pipeline’s Top 100 overall, will miss the start of the Minor League season with right shoulder tendinitis.
Perez is expected to miss four to six weeks while rehabbing at the Tigers’ Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla., according to an announcement from the Tigers on Twitter. He was already scheduled to open the season in Lakeland with the Tigers’ Class A Advanced Florida State League affiliate.
The announcement comes just four days after Perez threw two impressive innings against the Tigers’ Major League club in a Spring Training intrasquad game, hitting 93-94 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun while mixing in an effective change of speeds. His only baserunner allowed was a walk to his first batter.
The setback is the third injury in the shoulder area in nine months for Perez, who was shut down for the season from Class A Lakeland last July with right shoulder inflammation. He was in big league camp with the Tigers this Spring Training when a right trapezius spasm, between the shoulder and neck, sidelined him. He made one Grapefruit League appearance for the Tigers before being sent to Minor League camp, where his recent results were encouraging.
Perez was the prize prospect acquired from the Astros in the Justin Verlander trade in August 2017, a big-bodied, high-rising pitcher who made it to Double-A ball in Houston’s farm system at age 19. He made just seven appearances covering 19 1/3 innings last year in a season delayed by a right lat strain in Spring Training and then shortened by shoulder inflammation.
The Tigers’ hope was that Perez could spend a couple months or so in Lakeland before potentially joining Double-A Erie, where fellow highly rated pitching prospects Matt Manning and Alex Faedo headline the rotation. With Perez’s shoulder now a recurring issue, expect the Tigers to exercise abundant caution with his development.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.