Tigers manager A.J. Hinch announced that left-hander Matthew Boyd will be the Opening Day starter against the Indians on April 1 at Comerica Park.
It marks the second consecutive season that Boyd has been given the assignment. Boyd was given the news a week ago right before his last start. Hinch told Boyd that he was being lined up for the first game of the season.
Last year, Boyd had a season to forget, going 3-7 with a 6.71 ERA. This season, he hopes to re-establish his presence on the mound and help the Tigers take their next step toward contention. Remember, this is a guy who struck out 238 (tied for 10th in MLB) batters in 2019.
“It’s an honor. It’s not something I take lightly,” Boyd said. “I think it’s really exciting that when we get back, it will be our first game back with fans at Comerica. As you know, it’s so special on Opening Day at Comerica Park. It’s a state holiday. With the fans back in the seats, it’s something very exciting, something we are looking forward to.”
Boyd has had a great spring, allowing three runs in 13 innings and striking out 13 batters. But, stats are not the only reason Hinch made his decision to name Boyd the starter.
"He is a great presence on our team, but he is also a continuous learner,” Hinch said. “I think coming off the season he did last year, he is pitching with something to prove as well. He is always trying to get better. He takes it personal about our pitching staff. He is a leader. He is a person guys turn to.
“… You watch who gravitates to who. One of the first pitchers to come out and watch another starting pitcher was Matt Boyd. Early in spring, he snuck into the dugout and watched his fellow pitchers pitch. That to me is a symbol of a guy that gets it. He understands he has a big presence on our team.”
Teheran's back fine
Tigers right-hander Julio Teheran left Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays because of back tightness, but the injury is not considered serious. In fact, he wanted to re-enter the game, but the Tigers wouldn’t let him.
Teheran started feeling the pain the moment he faced the first hitter of the game. He allowed a leadoff home run to Marcus Semien, but Teheran settled down and retired the next six hitters he faced before leaving.
“We were proactive. The only thing that was fair to him and to us is not take any chances whatsoever,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was moving around great. He wanted to stay in. We just took it out of his hands. There was no training room close to us in the dugout. Once he got inside, he felt great. We are trying to be super smart with where we are in the spring and to his benefit as well.”
Teheran, 30, has had a productive spring, allowing three runs in 11 innings with a team-leading 15 strikeouts. He is currently on a Minor League deal and he has a clause in his contract that says the Tigers need to add him to their 40-man roster Monday or he can opt out, at which point they’ll have 48 hours to add him. The Tigers have not announced their plans, but the right-hander was talking as if he plans to stay with the team.
“I like this team. I like the opportunity they gave me from the beginning,” Teheran said. “Obviously, I was betting on myself because I knew I was going to have a Spring Training like this. I want to stay with the Tigers because I know this is a really good team. There is a lot of talent and it’s looking good this Spring Training. Hopefully, we can take it into the season. We have a lot of decisions to make, but that is out of our control.”