For the final pitch of his outing, Kansas City Royals starter Brad Keller drilled Detroit tigers rookie Spencer Torkelson in the helmet with an 88 mph change in Friday’s seventh inning.
“It made me ring a little bit,” Torkelson said on Saturday.
Keller tried to get his attention, but Torkelson was already walking from the Comerica Park field into the dugout with track coach Doug Teter and manager AJ Hinch. The ball hit the face-protective flap attached to Torkelson’s helmet, helping the 22-year-old avoid a concussion.
“How the outing ended, I hate that it ended like this, with the change coming off me and hitting Torkelson in the head,” Keller said Friday. “That’s very hard to see. I’m glad to hear he’s doing well.”
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After Friday’s game, Keller sent a clubhouse employee to check on Torkelson’s health. The clubbie brought back positive news: Although Torkelson would not start on Saturday, he would be available from the bench and would not suffer any serious face or brain injuries.
“It doesn’t really swell,” Torkelson said. “I didn’t even put ice on it. But it definitely turned red.”
At one point, Torkelson allied himself with Keller.
“No problem,” Torkelson replied. “It’s part of the game.”
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In Torkelson’s previous matchup with Keller, the overall pick of 2020 crushed a massive two-run homerun in the seventh inning on April 15 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
The blast gave the Tigers the lead, 2-1.
As the ball went 120 yards into the air, an emotional Torkelson clenched his fist, turned to his dugout and yelled to his teammates, “Come on, honey!” – and took the time to get out of the batter’s box.
More than two months later, Torkelson didn’t think Friday’s hit-by-pitch at Comerica Park had anything to do with his home run celebration at Kauffman Stadium. After all, Keller looted him with a change-up, not a fastball.
“We have no problem with the Royals and we are good friends with a lot of guys on the team,” Torkelson said. “You know there’s no intent, especially on a two-stroke count in a 3-0 ball game. 1-2 count, and then it’s a change. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Matt Manning throws bullpen
right-handed Matt Manning completed a bullpen on Saturday morning in Lakeland, Florida, where he continues his pitching schedule with director of pitching Gabe Ribas.
It was a big step in the right direction.
Manning will soon begin a rehabilitation period at Low-A Lakeland.
The 24-year-old has been on the injured list with a right shoulder inflammation since April 17. He started four games for Triple-A Toledo in May as part of his rehabilitation assignment, but suffered a setback.
His rehabilitation order is about to begin again, but the Tigers have not yet set an official date for his first game. After pitching for the Flying Tigers, Manning is expected to switch to Triple-A Toledo.
Manning made two starts in April before landing on the injured list.
He was able to return to the rotation before the end of July.
left handed Joey Wentz is in the early stages of his pitching program in Lakeland. He plays catch. The 24-year-old has not pitched competitively since May 31, when he suffered a left shoulder injury during the second MLB start of his career.
Wentz is the Tigers’ number 11 prospect, according to MLB pipeline†
Contact Evan Petzold at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold† Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers Newsletter†
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Spencer Torkelson is seated, but available for Detroit Tigers after HBP