Tigers pull Lewicki out of rotation to limit innings

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers pitcher Artie Lewicki gave up 11 hits and five runs in his MLB debut on Monday against the Royals.

Detroit — Rookie right-hander Artie Lewicki was hoping it wasn’t so.

He and pitching coach Rich Dubee had discussed the possibility of him staggering his starts — every 10 days instead of every five — to preserve innings.

But that’s not how it’s going to be.

“Lewicki is out of the rotation,” manager Brad Ausmus announced before Wednesday's series finale against the Royals. “Not because of anything he did, but because of where his innings are.”

Lewicki, 25, has thrown a career-high 146 innings this season, a sizable increase over the 101.2 innings he pitched last year.

“Darn,” Lewicki said when he got the news. “I was hoping to get another start.”

Lewicki made his big-league debut on Monday, allowing five runs and 11 hits in five innings to the Royals. Results aside, it was an intriguing start. His strike percentage was an impressive 73 percent. He mixed speeds well on his fastball and showed good composure.

“The big plus is he threw strikes and he was not afraid of the hitters,” Ausmus said after that start. “The first time facing Major League hitters and the first time in a Major League stadium can be daunting. And he did fine. He threw strikes, which is huge.”

Lewicki will be in the fight for a rotation spot next season, so the Tigers chose to err on the side of caution with his workload. He will be available to pitch in spots out of the bullpen the rest of the season.

Replacing him in the rotation will be right-hander Myles Jaye, who has pitched 131 innings this year. Jaye, just a few months older than Lewicki, has pitched at least 160 innings in three professional seasons already.

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Rotation news

Anibal Sanchez was walking around the clubhouse much more comfortably on Wednesday after taking a line drive off his right calf on his fifth pitch of the game Tuesday.

He may not have to wait a full turn to return to the mound.

“We are hoping he can go before his next turn,” Ausmus said. “He might pitch sometime this weekend in Toronto.”

If he is deemed fit, Sanchez will likely pitch on Sunday — which would have been Lewicki’s start. Buck Farmer is scheduled to pitch Friday and Chad Bell on Saturday.

Around the horn

JaCoby Jones and John Hicks made history Tuesday. Per Elias, they became the second pair of rookie teammates to each hit two home runs in the same game. The only other pair of rookies to do that — Reds' Jay Bruce and Joey Votto in 2008.

The Tigers beat the Royals on Tuesday despite Sanchez not recording an out (calf bruise). It was the third time in 25 years the Tigers have won a game with the starting pitcher recording an out.

Twitter: @cmccosky