Hutchison elected free agency Friday after exercising his right to refuse an outright assignment to the minors. Hutchison appeared at the major-league level this season for the first time since 2018, recording a 2.11 ERA in 21.1 innings for the Tigers. His underlying numbers don't come close to supporting that ERA, however, as he struck out just 11.0 percent of opposing batters while walking 12.1 percent.
Hutchison (1-1) allowed one hit and struck out one over two innings of work, picking up the win in Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the Pirates. A day after having his contract selected by the Tigers out of Triple-A Toledo, Hutchison threw up a couple of zeros in relief of Matt Manning, who exited the game after a comebacker struck his left leg. The 31-year-old's immediate majors future is up in the air, but a performance like this on incredibly short notice can't hurt his chances of remaining with the big club.
Hutchison's contract was selected from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday. Hutchison was outrighted to Toledo in late August, and he gave up three runs in four innings across two minor-league appearances since then. He appeared as a starter in each of his two appearances with the Tigers in 2021 but will likely pitch out of the bullpen after Drew Carlton was sent down and Joe Jimenez (illness) was placed on the COVID-19 injured list Monday.
Hutchison allowed an unearned run on four hits and a walk with one strikeout in 4.1 innings, taking a no-decision versus Toronto on Sunday. It was a significant improvement on his season debut versus Cleveland last Sunday, which saw the right-hander yield six runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings. Hutchison limited the damage to Bo Bichette scoring on an error in the third inning of Sunday's contest. The 30-year-old journeyman is likely to stay in Detroit's rotation after Wily Peralta (finger) was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday. Hutchison projects to make his next start at home in a rematch with Toronto next weekend.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Hutchison would make a second turn through the rotation Sunday against the Blue Jays, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reports. In an effort to limit the workloads of young starters Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning down the stretch without shutting them down outright, the Tigers will employ a six-man rotation for the time being. The desire to build in an extra day of rest for the rotation members is likely a greater motivation for the Tigers than getting an extended look at Hutchison, a 30-year-old journeyman who was blasted for six runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings last weekend against Cleveland in his 2021 MLB debut. A road matchup against a Blue Jays lineup overflowing with power bats is unlikely to yield dramatically better results for Hutchison.