Tigers' Matthew Boyd back on IL, will seek further medical evaluations on his ailing elbow
Detroit — The Tigers aren’t completely closing the door on Matthew Boyd pitching again this season, but the odds are stacked hard against that happening.
“He’s going to see doctors next week,” manager AJ Hinch said Saturday. “He is scheduled to see Dr. (Keith) Meister in Dallas and then we’ll get further evaluations and opinions and see what’s next for him.”
Boyd, scratched from his start Friday night, was placed on the injured list for the second time this season with a left elbow strain. He had just returned from a 10-week stint on the IL and after three rehab starts and two more after he was activated, the soreness in his elbow returned while he was throwing a side session Thursday.
“You are always concerned when it’s a recurring issue,” Hinch said Friday. He didn’t want to speculate on the chances of Boyd pitching again this season.
“I’m a manager, not a doctor,” he said. “I have no idea.”
Besides visiting Meister, who recently performed Tommy John surgery on Tigers catcher Jake Rogers, Boyd might also seek the opinion of Los Angeles-based specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Lefty Tyler Alexander, who filled in for Boyd on Friday, likely will stay in the rotation for at least another turn. Right-hander Drew Hutchison and Jose Urena could also end up making starts over the final three weeks of the season.
“We will re-evaluate it series by series,” Hinch said.
The Tigers selected lefty reliever Ian Krol to take Boyd’s spot on the roster. It’ll be his second stint with the club this season.
“With Alexander moving to the rotation, we’re short one lefty,” Hinch said.
Other than Gregory Soto, who is the de facto closer, Derek Holland is the only other lefty in the bullpen.
“I didn’t do a good job of pitching him the last time he was here,” Hinch said. “He kind of turned into the last man and I would hold him for the perfect situation. We need to challenge him and see if he’s part of what we are building towards for next year.”
Boyd, 30, the Tigers’ Opening Day starter, has had a choppy season. Through his first seven starts, he posted a 1.94 ERA and with opponents hitting 203 and slugging just .270. Over his last eight starts, wrapped around the IL stint, the ERA, average and slugging percentage ballooned — 6.08, .305, .519.
He isn’t eligible for free agency until 2023 season. If he elects surgery, he would miss the entire 2022 season. The Tigers likely would cover his medicals but would be under no obligation to tender him for next season, thus making Boyd a free agent.