Tigers sending unperforming RHP Kenta Maeda to bullpen

The Detroit Tigers are moving struggling starter Kenta Maeda to the bullpen.

Manager A.J. Hinch told reporters Thursday that there is no timeline for the right-hander to return to the starting staff.

“He’s going to go to the bullpen for the foreseeable future,” Hinch said. “We have some adjustments we’d like him to make. He’s open to any and all ideas.”

The Tigers signed Maeda, 36, to a two-year, $24 million contract last November. He’ll earn $14 million of that this season, which ties him for the second-highest salary on the team, behind the $25 million being paid to shortstop Javier Baez.

On the season, he has made 16 starts and is 2-5 with a 7.26 ERA. In 65 2/3 innings, he’s given up 81 hits, walked 23 and allowed 15 homers.

Tuesday night, Maeda started against the Cleveland Guardians and allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings pitched.

“Coming out of the break, he will not be in the rotation,” Hinch said, “and we’ll have to figure out whether we’re going to do bullpen days or what our game plan is going to be. We got a lot of time for that to happen.”

Maeda said he doesn’t remember experiencing anything like this in his eight major league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2016-19), Minnesota Twins (2020-21, 2023) and Tigers.

“Reflecting on my baseball career, I don’t think I’ve struggled this badly,” Maeda said Tuesday following Detroit’s 9-8 loss to the Guardians. “Not finding the solution has led to the results of this season. It’s not that I’m not trying. I’m doing my best and trying my hardest to bounce back, but things just aren’t happening. Hopefully, I can continue to work hard and focus on finding the solution.”

He has a career record of 67-54 in 206 games (171 starts) with an ERA of 4.15.

–Field Level Media