Notes: Paredes ready; Fulmer throws live BP
DETROIT -- Isaac Paredes might have been competing for a chance to start at third base at Comerica Park had he gotten a full Summer Camp. A positive test for COVID-19 denied him that opportunity.
The Tigers’ No. 5 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s preseason rankings isn’t going to dwell on that now. He’s going to make the best of his situation going forward.
“I’ve just got to work day by day and be wherever they want me to be and just wait on an opportunity to fulfill my dream to become a Major Leaguer,” Paredes said through an interpreter.
Paredes said he felt COVID symptoms while he was at home working out in Mexico. The symptoms were gone by the time he traveled to the United States, but he had to test negative.
The illness caught the 21-year-old Paredes by surprise.
“Back in Mexico, I stayed at home and I only went out to work out with all the protocols and safety,” he said. “It was a tough moment, to be honest.”
Paredes took live batting practice while he was working out in Mexico. Despite the delay to get into camp, he said he feels like he’s ready to play. The Tigers are more pragmatic, noting he has to get his arm stretched out as well as his timing at the plate.
Once the season starts, Paredes is expected to head to the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio, to work out and get ready in case the Tigers need help. The workouts also give Detroit a chance to work with Paredes defensively.
For now, that appears to be at third base. But Paredes won’t be the only Tigers prospect working at the hot corner. Top pick Spencer Torkelson will be there continuing his transition across the field, which raises questions regarding where Paredes’ future ultimately sits.
“They haven’t said anything to me yet,” Paredes said regarding positions, “but I’m ready and willing to do whatever the staff and the manager want me to do. I’m ready to play whatever position they want me to.”
Fulmer feels good in live BP session
While the Tigers placed Jordan Zimmermann on the 45-day injured list with a right forearm strain, his potential replacement took another step toward filling the slot. Michael Fulmer’s three innings of live batting practice left the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner feeling confident that he’ll be ready to open the season on the active roster.
“Everything felt great,” Fulmer said. “Today was the most polished I’ve felt so far. I think I can go help the team win right now. I know that I’m ready, but ultimately, it’s live BPs and intrasquads versus real games against actual opponents. I know my adrenaline will be up a little more once the season starts, and we’ll kind of see how things go from there. But as of right now, I feel like I’ve done as much as I can, the best I can do, without any Minor League rehab starts.”
Said Gardenhire: “He got his work in. The ball was coming out of his hand good. Slider was snapping pretty good.”
The Tigers have not announced the next step for Fulmer. He would likely not be able to pitch on turn for either of the two exhibition games in Cincinnati, and the Tigers won’t rush him after coming back from Tommy John surgery. But they could set up another live batting practice for him next week to stretch his pitch count further if they so choose.
“I threw three innings of live BP [Saturday] so I think [I threw] 45-50 pitches or so,” Fulmer said. “Everything felt good for those three innings, so as far as the stretched-out part, I feel like I can go more. But ultimately it’s going to be [pitching coach] Rick [Anderson] and Gardy’s call on when I’m going to pitch and how many innings. But I’m just trying to stay healthy and get my performance back to where it was.”
• The Tigers will return to intrasquad action Sunday with a 1 p.m. ET game at Comerica Park. No pitchers have been announced, but it would be Casey Mize’s day to pitch. The game will be live-streamed on tigers.com.
• Though the Tigers started Dawel Lugo at second base in their intrasquad game on Friday night, Gardenhire said the third baseman is not being viewed as a utility player for now. Lugo spent much of camp in competition with Jeimer Candelario for the starting job at third base, a spot Candelario appears to have an edge on keeping.
• The Tigers are nearing roster decisions for some of their Major League veterans who are in camp on non-roster invites, such as Jordy Mercer and Hector Santiago. They can request their release if not added to the roster or offered a retention bonus.