Tigers send reliever to minors after 'reckless' action led to scolding from manager

The Detroit Tigers sent their closer from last season, Alex Lange, to Triple-A after a series of events that did not make manager AJ Hinch happy.

According to the Tigers’ broadcast on Bally (which didn’t show the incident), Lange had given up two runs, and then he threw a baseball “about 90 miles per hour over the Tigers dugout” into the protective netting in a “reckless” fashion.

Afterward, Hinch came out for a mound visit and visibly scolded Lange.

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Benetti also said that Lange had a similar reaction after allowing back-to-back walks earlier in the week.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pitcher throw a ball that hard when they want a new baseball,” Benetti said. “Usually they just lob it over there, and as soon as the ball ricocheted off the netting, I saw A.J. Hinch go to the steps, and it didn’t look like a pitching change.”

The Kansas City Royals wound up winning the game, 8-3.

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Lange’s frustration is understandable. He went from a 26-save season to being demoted to lower-leverage spots. His ERA has jumped from last year’s 3.68 to 4.34, he’s walking a career-high 8.2 batters per nine innings, and his WHIP is an astoundingly high 1.77.

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Well, following the outburst and the tough love from his manager, the Tigers sent him to the minors.

Hinch said the demotion was purely performance-related.

“I’ll answer the obvious question: After all the emotion yesterday, is this a reaction to something? The answer is no,” Hinch said. “We’ve talked about Alex in recent weeks, or actually, for the entirety of his major league career, about strike-throwing and execution.”

“His role has changed a little bit,” Hinch continued. “That was due to his struggles with the strike zone, and as it continued yesterday, and he started falling further and further behind in the role category in a bullpen, we decided the best place for him to go work on that is in Toledo.”

Lange started off the season great, allowing just one earned run in his first 14 innings pitched. However, this had been the second time in his last five games allowing four earned runs in an inning or less of work.

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