Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press
Published 7:10 p.m. ET July 4, 2020 | Updated 9:10 p.m. ET July 4, 2020
Detroit Tigers top prospect RHP Casey Mize throws a bullpen session at Comerica Park on Saturday, July 4, 2020.
Detroit Free Press
On Friday, it was Matt Manning’s day. Saturday was for Casey Mize.
Mize threw 20-plus pitches in front of pitching coach Rick Anderson and bullpen coach A.J. Sager and others in the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen.
When Manning threw a bullpen session off the Comerica Park mound Friday, Mize was walking off the field with lefty ace Matthew Boyd after running between the poles.
Manning, one of the team’s top prospects, was back out on the field throwing long toss Saturday, but before he did, he made a quick stop to the bullpen.
Through the open gate, he watched the end of Mize’s first bullpen session of camp.
Mize, also a top prospect, threw alongside veteran lefty Hector Santiago, who is in camp competing for a bullpen spot.
Mize, 23, is expected by many to be in line for a 2020 debut. Last season, he tore through Class A Lakeland and threw a no-hitter at Double-A Erie in his first professional season. But — and this is a big but — he did miss more than a month midseason with a shoulder ailment.
Because of that injury, the coronavirus pandemic that threatens the season, and the unusual throwing schedule their young pitchers have been on, the Tigers may prefer to err on the side of caution in pushing them.
But Mize — like Manning and likely lefty Tarik Skubal — was set to start the 2020 minor league season at Triple-A Toledo. However, last week Minor League Baseball canceled its season and now the Tigers are in a bit of a quandary: While trying to protect some of these pitchers, they are left with major-league action as the only option to further their development.
The Tigers have a preference on how they’d like to see things play out, but injuries always have their way of forcing a hand. For now, Mize’s first two days of camp, including sticking with Boyd, a positive influence — to what otherwise seemed a productive bullpen session on Saturday afternoon, were a good step in proving that he’s ready.
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