Boyd on track to return by end of month; Tigers to start Hutchison Sunday
Detroit — Matthew Boyd isn’t quite ready to focus on the finish line just yet. He’s been saintly patient to this point, no sense getting ahead of himself now.
But the reality is, if things stay on track, he could be activated and back on the mound at Comerica Park against the Blue Jays either Aug. 28 or 29.
“The patience is tough,” said Boyd, who was back at Comerica after throwing 20 pitches over two scoreless innings in his first rehab start with Toledo in Columbus Friday night. “This is one thing you can’t will yourself through. You have to give it time to let your body recover.”
Boyd has been on the injured list since June 15. But he said he thinks the root of the injury — which the Tigers list as general arm discomfort though the pain was mostly in the elbow — came from swinging the bat in his start on June 1 against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
“I wasn’t really worried, but it was more of an ‘Oh shoot’ kind of thing,” Boyd said. “I don’t think swinging the bat in Milwaukee helped. This wasn’t a one-pitch sort of thing. There was discomfort and maybe (swinging the bat) pushed me over the edge.
“Whether that was the straw that broke the camel’s back or it was something else, I don’t know.”
He beat the Mariners on June 8, allowing only an unearned run over six innings. But he came out of next start on June 14 in the third inning.
“What I expect out of myself is 100% of me attacking on every pitch and if there is any bit that's away from that then I am not only cheating myself but I’m cheating everybody else,” Boyd said. “My focus needs to be right there, not on the last pitch, or my elbow or knee or shoulder or whatever.”
That’s why he was happy with his outing Friday. His velocity was back up to 94 mph, but more importantly, he was attacking hitters without regard to anything else. He just let it go.
“The injury was a couple of starts in the making and it got to the point where my focus was leaving here (attacking) and going there (to the pain),” Boyd said. “That’s the point where I drew the line and said, ‘I’m not doing what I was called to do, what I’m supposed to do.' ”
The plan is for Boyd to make two more rehab starts, hopefully building him up to five innings. If there are no setbacks, then he would be on track to make five or six starts before the end of the season.
“It’s been so much fun watching this team,” he said. “It’s the fruits of everything we’ve been working for. We saw it start to cultivate in the spring and then we had the tough April. But May and June you started to see it again.
“Being removed from it and watching it on TV, it’s palpable, the excitement. It’s really special and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
There is other news in the Boyd household, by the way. His wife Ashley is pregnant, with twins, a boy and a girl, due to arrive Nov. 13.
What a journey
Manager AJ Hinch announced Saturday that the contract of veteran right-hander Drew Hutchison would be purchased from Triple-A Toledo and he would make the start on Sunday in the series finale against the Indians.
The Tigers DFA'd reliever Buck Farmer to make room for Hutchison following Saturday's win over Cleveland.
For Hutchison, who won 13 games and was the Blue Jays Opening Day starter in 2015, it’ll be the first time he’s pitched in the big leagues since 2018.
“I’m excited to be here,” said Hutchison, who was at Comerica Park Saturday morning to throw a light bullpen. “It’s been a little bit of everything, just kind of an interesting ride so far. I’ve had a good season, so I’m excited to get going.”
Hutchison tore his UCL his rookie season in 2012 and had Tommy John surgery. He worked his way back into the Blue Jays rotation, making 60 starts in 2014 and 2015. He didn’t make the roster out of spring training in 2016, he lost a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation to Aaron Sanchez, and a crazy five-year journey was on.
Before landing in Toledo, where he was 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA, Hutchison pitched for the Pirates, Phillies, Dodgers, Rangers, Yankees, Twins and Angels between 2017 and 2019. In 2020, he pitched in the independent American Association and won a championship with the Milwaukee Milkmen.
“Yeah, 2019 was a tough year, I bounced around a lot — 2018 and 2019,” he said. “But I put in a lot of work the last few years and it’s good to see it pay off. Last year I played independent ball just to see if what I was doing was helping me and to see where I was at.”
So, a week before his 31st birthday (Aug. 22), Hutchison will start a game in the big leagues for the first time since Aug. 31, 2018.
“Yeah, I guess it’ll be a little like (a second big-league debut),” he said. “But I have a better idea of what to expect. Just looking forward to it.”