Tigers righty Michael Pineda sustained a fractured right middle finger when he was hit by a comebacker in his weekend start against the Orioles, but manager AJ Hinch said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today that the injury is not expected to require surgery (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com). Hinch suggested that Pineda will miss more than a month but not the multiple months that likely would’ve been needed to recuperate from surgery. He’ll be reevaluated in a couple of weeks.
Pineda, 33, signed a one-year, $5.5MM contract with the Tigers this offseason after spending the previous four years with the division-rival Twins. He’s out to a nice start, with a 3.22 ERA through his first 22 1/3 innings on the season. However, he’s also averaged fewer than five innings per outing and has posted a career-worst 13.6% strikeout rate. Pineda’s once-blazing fastball averaged just 90.9 mph with the Twins in 2021 and is sitting at 90.6 mph so far in 2022, though he’s maintained outstanding control, evidenced by his 4.5% walk rate.
The fractured finger for Pineda is the latest in a mountain of pitching injuries for the Tigers so far in a disappointing 2022 season. Detroit already knew that Spencer Turnbull would be shelved for most or all of the season following last summer’s Tommy John surgery, but he’s been joined on the injured list by Casey Mize (sprained MCL in his elbow), Matt Manning (shoulder inflammation), Tyler Alexander (elbow sprain) and now Pineda.
With a rotation’s worth of arms on the shelf, the Tigers are leaning heavily on veteran Eduardo Rodriguez, breakout 25-year-old Tarik Skubal, with little clarity beyond that duo. Former first-rounder Alex Faedo got the nod in last night’s game, while rookie Beau Brieske has held his own through four starts despite an unpalatable 11-to-10 K/BB ratio in 21 frames. Veteran Wily Peralta was an unexpected boon in the rotation last year and could be stretched out from his current multi-inning relief role, and the Tigers also took a look at left-hander Joey Wentz when they called him up for his MLB debut recently.
The final few rotation spots could be in a state of flux while Detroit weathers this stretch of injuries, however. Right-hander Chase Anderson, who has a 4.02 ERA in seven Triple-A starts, gives the organization one possible veteran option to consider as they look to piece things together.