The wait for Detroit Tigers right-handed pitcher Casey Mize continues.
Whether his arrival has been delayed by rain, the St. Louis Cardinals' COVID-19 outbreak, a 60-game schedule or financial implications, one fact remains: He's not in the big leagues, even though many believe he's talented enough to be in the starting rotation.
Left-handed starter Matthew Boyd is one of those people. After spending spring training and summer camp together, Boyd believes Mize is ready for the next level and can help the Tigers win — right now.
"When a guy of his caliber puts on our uniform, I know everybody's gonna be excited," Boyd said Tuesday. "It's gonna be fun, whenever it is. Keep in mind, remember, he's a rookie. So there's a lot that comes with that. He's talented, he's going to help us win. Whenever that time is right, we'll cross that bridge."
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The No. 1 overall pick from 2018 impressed last season, with an 8-3 record, 2.55 ERA, 0.942 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 21 starts and 109⅓ innings between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. He only walked 23 batters.
Between Boyd, Ivan Nova, Spencer Turnbull, Rony Garcia, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris in a combined 10 starts this season, they've given up 28 runs in 41 innings — resulting in a 5-5 start for the Tigers.
Fulmer and Garcia have started with three-inning limits, which leaves a daunting task for the bullpen to manage on consecutive days. And with Norris possibly moving to the bullpen, Detroit only has three solidified starters in Boyd, Nova and Turnbull.
That's where Mize can provide a boost.
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"He's a guy that I know will help our ballclub win, whatever kind of aspect he does come in, and whenever that is or form that comes in, but he's gonna help us win ballgames," Boyd said. "That's really exciting to know there's a guy down there that can do that."
There seemed to be momentum brewing Friday and Saturday when the Tigers needed a starter for Sunday. When rain entered the forecast, a seven-inning doubleheader was scheduled. The organization called Norris up from Toledo to start Game 2, leaving Mize at the alternate training site.
Gardenhire explained that the decision to pick Norris wasn't his department, alluding the choice was made by general manager Al Avila. Previously, Gardenhire said he wanted Mize in the big leagues as soon as possible. Now, he isn't allowed to say as much about his budding prospect.
"We needed a pitcher for the game, and Daniel Norris is the next guy in line," Gardenhire said Sunday. "He's the one that's been here, done it. Al, we talked about it, and that's the guy."
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The Mize-less situation can't be debated by service time any longer; the threshold where the prospect would pick up a year of MLB service has already passed. But the "Super Two" status argument can still be made, at least until the middle of August.
One aspect of Mize's situation nobody can deny is that he will help the Tigers win baseball games. Boyd knows, especially after watching Mize strike out Miguel Cabrera on three pitches in summer camp. And his professionalism speaks volumes.
Already through 17% of the 60-game season, the organization remains optimistic about making the 16-team postseason.
If the Tigers want to get there, Mize could be an answer.
That's if you ask Boyd, or just about anybody else.
"I am excited to see him in a Tiger uniform when the time comes for him to be in a Tiger uniform," Boyd said. "Those decisions are for people in higher positions than me. But you know he's going to help us win when the time comes."
Castro to Toledo
In an effort to whittle the roster from 30 to 28 by Thursday, the Tigers sent reliever Anthony Castro to the alternate training site in Toledo. Castro has allowed a two-run homer in his one inning this season.
According to media reports, teams will be allowed to keep their rosters at 28 for the rest of the season. Originally, teams were going to have to cut down to 26 in two weeks.