Cincinnati announced that stud pitching prospect Tony Cingrani will be called up from Triple-A to replace the injured Johnny Cueto in the rotation beginning Thursday against the Marlins.
Cingrani made his MLB debut with three relief appearances last September and the 23-year-old left-hander ranked among the top 100 prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com heading into this season.
He was off to an incredible start at Triple-A, throwing 14.1 shutout innings with a 26/2 K/BB ratio while allowing just three hits, and now Cingrani gets to face another Triple-A-caliber lineup for his first big-league start. Cueto is expected to miss at least 3-4 starts with a strained lat muscle.
Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”
Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.
Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.