Detroit Tigers' Jose Urena 'trending in right direction' to return for Sunday's start

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The Detroit Tigers can't make anything official until Sunday.

But right-hander Jose Urena seems ready to return from the injured list Sunday. He is expected to start the series finale against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Urena was placed on the 10-day injured list May 29, retroactive to May 27, with a right forearm strain. He isn't eligible to return to the active roster until Sunday, which is why the Tigers can't make an earlier announcement.

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Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jose Urena throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jose Urena throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Detroit.

On Thursday, Urena threw a bullpen session without trouble.

"As of right now, yesterday went well," manager AJ Hinch said Friday. "We'll see how he feels when he comes in and plays catch, but things are trending in the right direction."

When Urena landed on the injured list, Hinch said he was "very confident" that he would make Sunday's start in Chicago. He also said Urena could have pitched Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers, but the team didn't want to put his health at risk.

Urena has a 4.14 ERA, 22 walks and 35 strikeouts in 54⅓ innings across 10 starts. He sustained the forearm injury May 26 against Cleveland. He was removed with two outs in the sixth inning in a scoreless outing, allowing just three hits and three walks.

Castro's development

During Thursday's 4-1 loss to the White Sox, second baseman Willi Castro failed to field a bouncing grounder from Yasmani Grandal with two outs in the fourth inning.

Following Tim Anderson's leadoff single in the third inning, right-hander Casey Mize retired 12 of the next 13 batters to get through one out in the seventh with a low pitch count. The only batter to reach during that span was Grandal in the fourth.

The ball went past Castro's glove and into right field for a fielding error. The fourth error Castro has made in 26 games at second base was just his first defensive miscue since May 1.

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On the first pitch thrown by White Sox starter Lance Lynn in the fifth inning, Castro clobbered the ball 408 feet to right-center field. His fourth home run this season cut the Tigers' deficit to one run.

More importantly, the 24-year-old didn't let his poor defense cause further mistakes on offense.

"It's big (for his development)," Hinch said. "It was an angry homer. He was pretty mad coming off the field, having made an error. He knows he should have made the play. Goes up and swings the bat, and obviously got us on the board and got us back in a game that was going to be close from the very beginning."

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Through 44 games, Castro is hitting .217 with four home runs, 19 RBIs, nine walks and 49 strikeouts. In his past eight games, however, the switch-hitter has a .333 batting average, three doubles, two homers, nine RBIs, two walks and five strikeouts.

"Willi is a mature man," Hinch said. "He's a mature player. He's getting better by the day. He still gets pretty irritated when he makes a defensive miscue. I love the fact that he separated it and didn't go give an at-bat away."

Hinch: Fulmer is healthy

Right-hander Michael Fulmer hasn't pitched since May 30 against the New York Yankees, but Hinch is "pretty sure he's fine" and healthy. Fulmer has a 3.34 ERA in 35 innings this season, racking up 10 walks and 35 strikeouts.

Fulmer has made 16 of his 20 appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 2.42 ERA, five walks and 28 strikeouts in 22⅓ innings.

"I'm not going to report every single strategy that we have to try to keep guys fresh," Hinch said. "But yeah, we wanted to give him a break through the Milwaukee series, and then we got beat (Thursday), so there was really no reason to use him yesterday. We'll see how today goes. If it's a blowout game today either way, I probably won't use him today."

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com 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: Detroit Tigers' Jose Urena is on pace to return for Sunday's start