Alexander moves to rotation; Jackson to 'pen

September 17th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- The Tigers liked what they saw from rookie left-hander Tyler Alexander in Monday’s win over the Orioles. Unsurprisingly, they want to see more of him at the tail end of this 2019 season geared toward player development.

That means 17-season veteran has been bumped from the Detroit rotation to make room for the 25-year-old Alexander, who earned his first Major League win in his sixth start by holding the O’s to a run on four hits over six innings.

“Tyler has kind of earned that,” manager Ron Gardenhire said of the rotation role.

As for Jackson, the move was a tough pill to swallow, even at this late stage of the season. But having pitched for a record 14 teams over the years in a variety of roles, including a relief stint near the end of his time with the Blue Jays this season, Jackson handled the decision with class.

“I’m not going to be bitter,” Jackson said. “I’ll continue to pitch. I’ve never been a selfish person. At the end of the day, if you don’t like it, then pitch better than you’ve pitched to put yourself in a position where changes can be made. Simple as that.”

This week, Gardenhire and the front office had their typical late-season meeting to discuss the best way to handle these final two weeks in terms of innings and at-bats, and the most important consideration is, of course, playing time (and, in some cases, such as reliever Bryan Garcia, innings limits) for the kids.

Gardenhire admitted the Tigers are “ad-libbing” a bit with their pitching plan right now, especially with staff ace dealing with a family matter back home in Seattle. But seeing Alexander in these final turns through the rotation was a priority.

Boyd to start Sunday

Boyd is expected to return to the team in time to make Sunday’s start against the White Sox in Detroit.

He is 8-11 with a 4.54 ERA in 176 1/3 innings this season.

Alcántara brought back

Reliever was not among the Tigers’ callups earlier this month and hasn’t pitched in a game since Sept. 2 at Triple-A Toledo. But after the Tigers placed on the injured list Monday with a right elbow strain, Alcántara was summoned from his native Dominican Republic prior to Tuesday’s game.

Alcántara spent the entirety of the season with the big league club prior to landing on the injured list with a bruised right middle finger in late July. He had a 5.31 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 39 innings out of the bullpen.

Tiger tidbits

• Infielder was scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup due to continued soreness from a triceps bruise sustained Monday.

• Gardenhire said reliever was OK after leaving Monday’s game with an accelerated heartbeat and dizziness. Tests, including an EKG, came back negative.

• Veteran has made the most of a more limited role since the Tigers committed to as their starting shortstop. In 101 at-bats since Aug. 2, entering Tuesday, Mercer was slashing .376/.400/.604.

“There’s two ways you can go,” Gardenhire said. “You can be bummed and mope around, or you can go have some fun. That’s what he’s done.”