Knotts has made nine relief appearances this season, and has not allowed a hit in his last three outings over 4 1-3 innings.
His recent dominance helped convince the Tigers to give Knotts a turn in the rotation. Detroit has been without a fifth starter since right-hander Nate Cornejo (shoulder) went on the disabled list May 3.
“He’s doing well with his mechanics,” pitching coach Bob Cluck said of Knotts. “A lot of drills—I like his attitude towards them. He wants to get better. He deserves a chance.”
Knotts had hoped to earn the No. 5 job in spring training, but was beaten out by Nate Robertson.
“This guy, he deserves, to me, to get the first shot,” manager Alan Trammell said. “In my mind, I had Knotts right from the get-go.”
Knotts made 18 starts for the Tigers last season, going 3-8 with a 5.77 ERA.
“He has major league stuff,” said Trammell, who added that a strong performance Friday could earn Knotts another start. “It’s just he hasn’t been able to harness it.”
The Rangers lost 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday—just their fifth defeat in 18 games.
Michael Young, who leads the majors with 56 hits, went 3-for-5 with a leadoff solo homer and an RBI single for his major league-leading 20th multihit game.
“There was one to win out there today,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We didn’t play as well as we have. That disappointed our players, I know.”