Detroit Tigers outfielder Matt Vierling returned from the injured list Monday and started in center field for the fifth time this season in the series opener against the Atlanta Braves at Comerica Park.
“I’m excited,” Vierling said.
The return of Vierling, a right-handed hitter, comes just two days after outfielder Akil Baddoo needed to be placed on the injured list with a right quadriceps strain. It also comes four days after fellow outfielder Kerry Carpenter returned from the injured list. Fellow outfielder Riley Greene is still on the injured list.
Needless to say, injuries have been a problem for the Tigers through 63 games. But Tigers manager A.J. Hinch feels good about his options.
“I have two guys that I feel completely comfortable putting out there (in center field), with (Jake) Marisnick and Vierling,” Hinch said. “We’ve got to be cautious of where his workload is, speaking of Vierling. You’ll see a little bit of a timeshare. … It’ll be day by day.”
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Vierling landed on the 10-day injured list May 30, retroactive to May 29, with low back soreness. The 26-year-old is hitting .241 with four home runs, 11 walks and 36 strikeouts in 46 games this season.
Before returning, Vierling played two games for Triple-A Toledo in a rehab assignment. He finished 1-for-7 (.143) with zero walks and two strikeouts.
“I feel good,” Vierling said, when asked about his timing at the plate. “I played in two games in Toledo and felt like I had pretty good at-bats down there. I feel like it’ll come, and we’ll see what happens, but I feel like I’m ready.”
The Tigers, despite their nine-game losing streak, received a boost on offense from Carpenter following his return Friday from a right shoulder sprain. He suffered the injury April 27 when he collided into the right-field wall while robbing a home run at Comerica Park.
Carpenter, a left-handed hitter, went 8-for-12 (.667) with one double, one walk and two strikeouts in his first three games.
Vierling hopes to follow in Carpenter’s footsteps.
“It hasn’t been fun, and it’s definitely been tough watching the guys go through that and dealing with some losses like that,” Vierling said. “I’m just trying to come up here, help the team win and do what I can.”
Right-hander Matt Manning, who has recovered from a broken bone in his right foot, completed 1⅔ innings in the first start of his rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Toledo.
The 25-year-old worked around two hits and two walks without allowing a run, throwing 23 of 45 pitches for strikes. He threw 24 four-seam fastballs (53%), 13 sliders (29%) and eight curveballs (18%).
“I felt good,” Manning said. “It wasn’t bad. I was missing a little glove side, but all in all, I felt pretty good.”
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Manning recorded one strikeout when he punched out Cam Eden — a 25-year-old in the Toronto Blue Jays‘ organization — to win a seven-pitch battle. It was one of four whiffs on 21 swings against the Buffalo Bisons. He generated two called strikes, one each from his slider and curveball.
His fastball averaged 93.3 mph and topped out at 95 mph.
“I was more like 94-95 (mph) instead of 93-95 (mph),” Manning said. “A little bit of first five-day rotation and getting back in the game situations. Hopefully, I’ll just build from there.”
Manning is eligible to return from the 60-day injured list but likely needs at least another rehab start in Toledo.
It marked the first start of his MLB career.
“We’re going to use a lot of our guys,” Hinch said. “Someone has to go first. We wanted him to be right-handed. Mason is going to get the first time through the order, or at least the first time through these righties, and then we’ll piece it together. We have a plan in place.”
In 2022, Englert posted a 3.64 ERA with 31 walks and 136 strikeouts over 118⅔ innings in 24 starts for High-A Hickory (21 starts) and Double-A Frisco (three starts) as a member of the Rangers’ organization.
This season, Englert has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Tigers.
The 23-year-old has a 5.00 ERA with 12 walks and 25 strikeouts across 36 innings in 21 appearances. His strikeouts per nine innings plummeted from 10.3 in 2022 (in the minor leagues) to 6.3 in 2023 (in the big leagues).
“He’s never done it before at this level,” Hinch said, “but he’ll be the first to go out (to the mound) today.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ Matt Vierling returns; Matt Manning talks rehab start
Source: Yahoo Sports