Detroit Tigers right-hander Matt Manning didn’t look comfortable after throwing his 80th pitch with one out in the seventh inning Friday against the Houston Astros. Catcher Jake Rogers trotted to the mound, and shortstop Javier Báez signaled to the dugout.
Moments later, manager A.J. Hinch and assistant athletic trainer Christopher McDonald emerged from the dugout to investigate.
Manning tweaked his lower back on his second-to-last pitch in the seventh inning Friday, but as of Saturday afternoon, the Tigers haven’t placed him on the injured list. That could change in the coming days following a brief wait-and-see period from the Tigers’ medical department.
“We’ll see how the next couple days are,” Hinch said before Saturday’s game at Comerica Park. “We’ll give it a day or two and see where he’s at. We have to make a decision at some point to line up things. If he can’t make the next start, do we do a bullpen day or call somebody up? We haven’t made that determination. I was encouraged that he came here and felt maybe a little better than what he could have, but we don’t know yet.”
Manning is preparing to make his next start, which should be Wednesday against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park, but that plan hasn’t been finalized because he needs to be healthy.
“I feel good,” Manning said Saturday. “I feel a lot better than yesterday. I just had a back zinger that kind of went up. It feels better now. I think I’ll be good with more time to come.”
The seventh-inning meeting between Hinch, McDonald and Manning didn’t last long.
Manning, who thought he could continue pitching, threw one warmup pitch. He grimaced, expressing pain, while throwing a fastball. When that happened, the Tigers decided to remove him from his 13th start.
“We got out to the mound, and we were debating whether even to let him to throw a pitch because he was wincing a little bit,” Hinch said after Friday’s game. “He convinced us to do it. I got close to him, and I was like, ‘Hey, listen, we’re not going to take any chances, so if I see anything, it’s going to be the end of the night.’ He winced a little bit when he threw, and I just took the ball from him.”
He allowed one unearned run on one hit and zero walks with three strikeouts over 6⅓ innings. He primarily relied on four-seam fastballs and sliders while flipping in a handful of curveballs.
Manning, whose 80th and final pitch was a slider, has a 0.51 ERA — one earned run, three unearned runs — on eight hits and four walks with six strikeouts across 17⅔ innings in his past three starts.
“When I landed, my foot slipped a little bit,” Manning said. “On my turn, it shot up my back a little bit. It happened on the second-to-last pitch.”
Right-handed reliever Brendan White replaced Manning and finished the seventh inning. The combination of Manning, White and right-handed reliever Alex Lange limited the Astros to one hit in Friday’s 4-1 win, which ended on Parker Meadows’ three-run walk-off home run.
Manning was placed on the injured list at the beginning of this season, and three times in the past two seasons. The Tigers put him on the injured list April 12 with a right foot fracture. He missed more than two months and didn’t return to the big leagues until June 27.
“I just wanted to finish my outing and keep going,” Manning said. “I didn’t think it was going to be something that was nagging, but it was going to be beneficial to the team for someone else to step in there if I couldn’t finish.”
He was limited to 12 starts in the 2022 campaign because of three injuries (and two placements on the injured list): shoulder inflammation, biceps tendinitis and a forearm strain.
Manning, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 draft, owns a 4.51 ERA with 70 walks (6.2% walk rate) and 150 strikeouts (16% strikeout rate) in 43 starts throughout his MLB career. In the big leagues, he completed 85⅓ innings in 2021 and 63 innings in 2022, plus 71 innings so far in 2023.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ Matt Manning hopes to pitch after hurting back
Source: Yahoo Sports