DETROIT -- While Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal continue their learning process as part of the Tigers' rotation, another top young pitcher is taking a step toward Detroit’s rotation. Matt Manning is expected to report shortly to the alternate training site in Toledo.
“The thought is to get him maybe an outing at the alt site before the Triple-A season starts,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
General manager Al Avila told MLB Network Radio on Sunday that Manning is expected to start the Triple-A Mud Hens’ season opener May 4 against Nashville.
Manning is the Tigers’ top pitching prospect now that Mize and Skubal have graduated from prospect status. The 6-foot-6 right-hander ranks 21st on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list.
The 23-year-old Manning was already expected to join the Mud Hens, having made 26 starts at Double-A Erie between 2018 and 2019. The Tigers kept him in Lakeland, Fla., for Minor League Spring Training rather than send him to the alternate site with other Triple-A players so that he could ramp up his workload at a steady pace under better weather conditions in Florida. Considering at least three alternate site games have been postponed by weather, including a snowstorm in Toledo earlier this week, that decision worked out.
The move doesn’t really impact Manning’s timetable for the big leagues. The Tigers are already working with essentially six starters since Spencer Turnbull’s return from the injured list Wednesday, having bumped Skubal into a piggyback starter status for now. When the Tigers inevitably need starting help for injuries or other depth reasons, Manning is expected to be at the top of the list.
Also transitioning from Lakeland to the alternate site are relievers Rony García and Wily Peralta. García, who spent last season with the Tigers as a Rule 5 Draft pick, was optioned to Double-A Erie earlier this month after missing Spring Training following an appendectomy. Peralta signed a Minor League deal with the Tigers in February and was supposed to be in big league Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, but he didn’t make it in time due to visa and travel issues.
Miggy back with plan to watch workload
Miguel Cabrera returned to the Tigers' lineup as expected in Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Royals. In his first game since April 10, he played first base and batted third (0-for-4). But as the Tigers get ready for another three-city road trip beginning Tuesday, Hinch is making plans to get Cabrera some scheduled days off to watch his wear and tear as the 38-year-old gets back into his swing following a left bicep strain.
“It’s great to have Miggy back,” Hinch said, “and I’m going to have him on a schedule for the first couple of weeks. I’m going to have a couple scheduled off-days for him this next road trip.”
Short’s stay in Toledo might not be long
The Tigers optioned infielder Zack Short to the alternate site to make room for Cabrera on the 26-man roster, but Short left having made an impression on Hinch and others on the staff.
“He’s a fundamentally sound player who has a little edge to him,” Hinch said. “I know he was really proud of his first hit [Friday], but he also wasn’t going to let that be the storyline with the loss that we had. He’s a pretty intriguing guy that can fit on a lot of Major League teams.
“I told him in his meeting [Saturday] this is not his last time up here. I want to get him up here as soon as possible when the roster kind of makes sense. He’s got a lot to learn and he’s got a lot to get better at, but he’s also got a lot to give this team whenever we need him.”
Mazara out until May
Avila told MLB Network Radio that injured outfielder Nomar Mazara (left abdominal strain) will continue to rehab in Lakeland until the Triple-A season begins. The Tigers plan to put him on a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens when their season opens May 4, with the hopes of getting him back from the injured list around May 9.