Boyd said he's thrown one simulated game per week during the layoff to stay ready for game action, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reports. Boyd added that he recently got up to five innings of work. The lefty can now set his sights toward Opening Day, which is slated for about a month from now following a second spring training in early July. Detroit and other MLB teams are likely to be cautious with their starters to begin the abbreviated season, so Boyd may not go past five innings on the mound anytime soon.
Boyd said he plans on getting stronger in the weight room while spring training is suspended and his throwing program is interrupted, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. Boyd has remained at the Tigers' facility in Lakeland, Fla., and tried to look on the bright side of the delay, calling it an "awesome opportunity for us to get even stronger." The lefty struggled a bit down the stretch last season after a strong start, so perhaps the emphasis on strength training could help with his endurance whenever the 2020 campaign resumes.
Boyd, who allowed just one run across 4.1 innings in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Pirates, has a 1.93 ERA this spring. Boyd has looked like the staff leader the Tigers need him to be. He did at times last year, too, as the lefty had a 2.85 ERA through the first two months of the season. However, Boyd struggled some after that and ultimately finished with a 4.56 ERA. The 29-year-old has elite strikeout potential, but he's yet to have a true breakout campaign.
Boyd took the loss in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros, allowing a solo home run and a walk across two innings of work. He struck out three. The outing was a microcosm of Boyd's 2019 campaign, as he gave up plenty of home runs (39, second most in the league) but also racked up the strikeouts (238 in 185.1 innings pitched). The southpaw continues to show glimpses of brilliance, but he's yet to sustain it across a full season. He'll line up as Detroit's unquestioned ace heading into 2020 and will look to improve his consistency on the mound.
Boyd and the Tigers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.3 million deal Friday, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports. Boyd will more than double his $2.6 million salary from the 2019 season. The lefty saw his strikeout rate jump from 22.4 percent to 30.2 percent in his fifth big-league season, though his ERA rose slightly from 4.39 to 4.56.
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