José Ureña's start against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday ended a lot sooner than he and the Detroit Tigers expected. With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, the 29-year-old was removed from the game after he made one pitch to Eddie Rosario, ending a strong start in which the right-hander tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings and 82 pitches.
It was later announced that Ureña experienced a lower right forearm strain, particularly around the wrist area. Now a couple days removed from the start, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Ureña was feeling better.
"Right now, he's trying to convince us that he feels good enough to start,” Hinch said. “And I'm trying to convince him that the smart, diligent thing to do would be maybe miss the start in [Milwaukee] where he'd have to swing the bat.”
Ureña’s bullpen session did not happen Friday as the Tigers want an extra day to decide the best course of action for him, which will likely result in skipping his next start.
"As most players, he wants to kind of grind through it and fight through it and see how he feels,” Hinch said. “We'll come to a collective agreement over the next 24 hours, but if I was leaning one way today, I would try to do something different in Milwaukee and have him catch back up in Chicago with a start.”
Candelario an on-base machine
The longest active on-base streak in Major League Baseball currently belongs to the New York native commanding third base for the Tigers. After a double in the first inning against Gerrit Cole on Friday, Jeimer Candelario has safely reached base in 24 consecutive games for Detroit and has put up stellar numbers in the batter’s box while doing so.
Entering Friday, Candelario had slashed .299/.378/.460 while driving in nine runs and scoring 15 runs in his previous 23 games. Though the Tigers went 10-13 in that stretch, Candelario put together must-see at-bats.
"He has swung the bat well," Hinch said. "There'll be at-bats where he is super disciplined. There's also a path where he's fairly aggressive. And I think that well-rounded approach allows him to dictate what he's trying to do at any given time."
Candelario's ability to impact the game -- whether it be as a hitter, runner or defender -- has been sensed by opposing teams, and they’re not quite sure how to combat it.
“He's kind of a sneaky exit-velocity guy, he can impact the ball and he can spray the ball around the field a little bit,” Hinch said. “I've seen team shifts, I've seen other teams unshift him, and that to me tells me he's a confusing hitter for the other side. They're not quite sure what his tendencies are going to be [and] that has led to a few more holes being open to him.”
Candelario’s moment to shine has been a couple of seasons in the works. In his first two full seasons with the Tigers from 2018-19, his batting average was .216 while his on-base percentage sat at .312. The 2020 season exemplified a breakout for the 27-year-old with a slash line of .297/.369/.503 and 21 extra-base hits in 52 games.
Bullpen making headlines
One of the best bullpens in MLB over the past two weeks is making its presence known. Entering Friday, Tigers relievers had posted the best WHIP in the big leagues at 0.86 since May 16 and were second in opponents batting average (.152).
The Detroit bullpen has allowed only seven earned runs in 30 1/3 innings, which has resulted in the best ERA (2.08) in the American League during that span.
Reyes scratched from lineup
Center fielder Victor Reyes was removed from the starting lineup a couple of hours before the Tigers' series opener against the New York Yankees after he aggravated his pectoral area during a play in the outfield Thursday.
Because of potential inclement weather in Detroit, the Tigers opted to have Reyes not start. Hinch said Reyes will not need further testing and “the concern level is super low” regarding the injury.