Rick Porcello’s next start pushed back to Saturday

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MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that the Tigers have pushed back Rick Porcello’s start to Saturday against the Rangers. Porcello was set to face the Rangers in the series opener on Thursday, but he is experiencing soreness in his right side and will get some extra rest.

Porcello has been pitching very well for the Tigers, picking up his league-leading seventh win on Saturday against the Red Sox. The 25-year-old right-hander has a 2.91 ERA and a 33/7 K/BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings.

Robbie Ray will make Thursday’s start. Ray was one candidate to be sent down to clear a spot on the roster for Anibal Sanchez, who is coming off of the disabled list, but the Tigers optioned reliever Justin Miller to Triple-A Toledo instead. Ray, acquired from the Nationals in the Doug Fister trade over the winter, posted good results in his first two starts, allowing just one run in 11 1/3 innings.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.