Detroit Tigers announce starting pitchers for first spring training games of 2024

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Dodgers
Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

After almost five long months of no Detroit Tigers baseball, the Tigers will hit the field again on Feb. 24 in their spring opener against the Yankees in Lakeland. With the exception of some head-scratching decisions in terms of positioning, the team seems to be in good shape. Kenta Maeda and Mark Canha are already fulfilling what's probably 30% of their job descriptions as clubhouse and on-field leaders, and the young core seems healthy and raring to go.

Still, manager AJ Hinch has said that he expects competition for the handful of open 26-man roster spots to be fierce, and there's no better time for less established Tiger hopefuls to prove themselves than during spring training games.

Per Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press, Hinch announced the Tigers' first two starters for these games: Reese Olson on Saturday against the Yankees and Alex Faedo on Sunday against the Rays. Olson is pretty much a lock for the six-man rotation, but Faedo will have a lot of work to do in order to keep himself in the bullpen.

Reese Olson and Alex Faedo will start in first Detroit Tigers spring training games

The Tigers came to rely on Olson heavily in the back half of the 2023 season; he pitched over 100 innings between June and September for a respectable but not fantastic 3.99 ERA in his rookie year. The team signing Maeda and Jack Flaherty in the offseason, along with the return of Casey Mize, should take some pressure off of Olson's shoulders, but he'll still be watched closely in comparison to Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal to determine where he'll fall in the rotation.

Faedo had a rough May with the Tigers last year, which led to him being sent down to Triple-A. The team brought him back up in July for sporadic starts, and even employed him as a closer in a three instances in September. He only gave up one hit over those appearances, but management will surely be keeping a close eye on him as a potential contender for the rotation if he can outperform Manning, who had a comparable go of things in 2023, and Joey Wentz, who is out of minor league options and is dangerously close to losing his spot in the organization altogether.