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Tigers-Twins doubleheader to feature debut of Kody Clemens

Sportsnaut
Mar 22, 2022; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers infielder Kody Clemens (21) talks with his teammates before the start of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

A player with a famous last name will likely make his major league debut when the Detroit Tigers host the Minnesota Twins in a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Infielder Kody Clemens, son of Roger Clemens, was called up by the Tigers from Triple-A Toledo. He replaced Robbie Grossman, who was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a neck injury, on the active roster.

The left-handed hitting Clemens was batting .283 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs for Toledo.

“Kody has earned this promotion,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s played very well this season, especially against right-handed pitching. I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him. And obviously we have an opportunity here. If he can come up and do what he did at Triple A it’ll be a nice boost for us.”

Clemens will play a variety of positions as he tries to stick with the big club.

“Replacing Robbie, who is all outfield, with an infielder is a challenge,” Hinch said. “But it’s his bat that got him here. (The defensive positions) will change every day.”

The Tigers, who have scored by far the fewest runs in the majors this season, finally appear to be on the upswing. They have won four of their last five, including a 7-5 win over the Twins on Monday in the opener of the five-game series.

The Tigers pounded out 13 hits and scored in five innings. The seven runs marked their highest output since a 13-run outburst against Colorado on April 23, the same game in which Miguel Cabrera made history with his 3,000th hit.

The Twins have a new concern. Shortstop Carlos Correa tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. The team learned of the positive test during Monday’s game.

Left-hander Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 1.04 ERA) will start the opener for Minnesota. Smeltzer pitched seven scoreless innings against Kansas City in his last start but wound up with a no-decision. He only allowed two hits and one walk while striking out six.

He made five starts for Triple-A St. Paul prior to his latest call-up.

“You want to stay, the longer you’ve been around,” Smeltzer said. “Your first year, you’re kind of playing with house money. You go up and down and you’re just happy to be here. Once you start to feel more comfortable here, perform, then it gets harder and harder once you get sent back down.”

Smeltzer will make it nearly impossible for the Twins to demote him if he keeps pitching like he did against the Royals. He missed most of last season with nerve issues in his pitching arm.

“It’s a lot out of my hands,” Smeltzer said. “The work I put in every day, the execution in the games, there’s not much else I can do. It’s in their hands.”

Right-hander Cole Sands (0-0, 6.75), who has made two two-inning relief appearances, will get the nod for Minnesota in the nightcap.

Right-hander Rony Garcia (0-0, 3.00) will start the first game for Detroit. He had a four-inning start at Minnesota last week in which he gave up two runs on three hits in four innings and struck out five. Garcia will be making his 27th major league appearance but just his fourth start.

Joey Wentz (0-1, 20.25) is expected to be called up from Triple-A Toledo as the 27th man and start the nightcap for Detroit. The left-hander got clobbered for six runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings by Oakland in his major league debut on May 11.

–Field Level Media