Ex-Tiger Matthew Boyd expected to make his Mariners' debut this week in Detroit

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Look who’s back.

When the Tigers welcome the Seattle Mariners to Comerica Park for three games this week, a very familiar face will be setting up shop in the visitors' clubhouse.

Lefty Matthew Boyd, non-tendered by the Tigers last year after being a mainstay in the rotation for the better part of seven seasons, is expected to be activated off the injured list by the Mariners and be available out of the bullpen.

Boyd's last appearance on a big-league mound was with the Tigers on Sept. 4, 2021. He left after four innings because of an arm injury that eventually was diagnosed as a flexor tendon strain. He had surgery three weeks later.

Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd works in the fifth inning.

The Tigers signed lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for five years and $77 million to lead a young rotation and let Boyd pursue free agency. Even though he wasn’t expected to pitch until June at the earliest, the San Francisco Giants signed Boyd for one year and $5.2 million.

Then at the trade deadline, they traded him to his hometown team, the Mariners.

The Mariners' plan all along was to use Boyd out of the bullpen for their playoff chase. There wasn’t enough time to build him back up to start. In six rehab outings at Triple-A Tacoma, he allowed two runs in eight innings with 14 strikeouts and no walks.

“The (Mariners) are the reason I love baseball,” Boyd told The Athletic after the trade. “I remember watching games in the Kingdome. This is a day that I’ve dreamed about, wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform.”

It’s going to happen at Comerica Park, which he called his second home for seven years.

How about that?

On deck: Mariners

Series: Three games at Comerica Park

First pitch: Tuesday-Wednesday — 7:05; Thursday — 1:10 p.m.

TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit/97.1.

Probables: Tuesday — RHP George Kirby (5-3, 3.32) vs. RHP Matt Manning (1-1, 2.37); Wednesday — LHP Marco Gonzalez (9-12, 3.97) vs. LHP Tyler Alexander (3-8, 4.83); Thursday — RHP Logan Gilbert (10-5, 3.49) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (3-3, 3.60).

Kirby, Mariners: A first-round pick in 2019, he’s having a nice rookie season. The M’s are 6-2 in his last eight starts, where he’s posted a 2.42 ERA with 53 strikeouts and just six walks. He’s got six pitches and he throws strikes (3.2% walk rate). He also has reverse splits. Right-handers are crushing him — .323 average, .516 slug and .875 OPS. His 95-96 mph heater is the only pitch he’s had any success with against righties.

Manning, Tigers: It sure seems like he’s coming into his own. He’s given up one run over 13 innings in his last two starts, with 14 strikeouts and one walk. He established a career-high with eight punchouts in six innings against the Giants, the last three coming in the top of the sixth inning after the Tigers had just put up a six-spot. He struck out the Giants’ Nos. 3-4-5 hitters.

Twitter: @cmccosky