Sad news: The Detroit Tigers lose four key players ahead of their next match. Read more.

May 24: RHP Kenta Maeda (viral illness) was reinstated from the 15-day IL, and RHP Matt Manning was optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Maeda was initially expected to return to Detroit’s rotation this weekend, but the Tigers decided to keep him on his regular schedule after he struck out six batters over three-plus innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Toledo on Sunday. With no issues reported after his midweek side session, Maeda was cleared to make his first start since May 7.

That meant another trip to Toledo for Manning, who allowed four runs on 10 hits in five innings last Sunday in Arizona. According to manager A.J. Hinch, the Tigers kept Manning available in case Maeda wasn’t ready or if Reese Olson needed an extra day after taking a line drive off his right hip in his last start on Monday in Kansas City.

Manning, who was originally scheduled to start on Friday against the Blue Jays, was replaced by Maeda about four hours before the first pitch. A.J. Hinch said he informed Manning of the change on Thursday night and notified Blue Jays manager John Schneider shortly afterward.

Lange’s move comes a day after a heated mound visit with manager A.J. Hinch during a four-run inning in Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the Royals. This decision also follows a prolonged struggle with command that has persisted for over a year. Lange has issued 17 walks over 18 2/3 innings this season, including seven walks in his last 4 2/3 innings over five appearances.

“After all the emotion [Wednesday], is this a reaction to something? The answer is no,” Hinch said. “We’ve talked about Alex in recent weeks, actually throughout his entire Major League career, about strike-throwing and execution. His role has changed due to his struggles with the strike zone. As it continued [Wednesday] and he started falling further behind in the bullpen role hierarchy, we decided the best place for him to work on that is Toledo.”

The Tigers have mapped out a plan for Lange to work on those issues over the next 10 days, Hinch said, which could make this a brief demotion. Still, it’s a setback for Lange, who racked up 26 saves last year but just two this season, as Jason Foley has taken over most save situations.


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