Rotation in tatters as Tigers wrap up series vs. Angels

Under normal circumstances, Francisco Liriano would take the mound for the Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon.

There’s nothing normal right now regarding the Tigers’ rotation. Liriano was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday night with a sore right hamstring. Another rotation member, Jordan Zimmermann, was already on the DL with a shoulder issue. A potential starter, Daniel Norris, is on the 60-day DL with a groin injury.

Ryan Carpenter was called up from Triple-A Toledo and will start the finale of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Carpenter, a 27-year-old rookie, has made two spot starts for the Tigers this season with little success but options are limited due to Liriano’s injury.

“He had a sore hammy after his last start,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said of Liriano. “He thought he was getting better and obviously, he’s not getting better. He’s having a hard time with it, so we put him on the DL and let him get well. That’s all we can do.”

Liriano (3-2, 3.90 ERA) gave up a season-high three homers to the Chicago White Sox in his last outing but has generally been solid in his first season with the Tigers.

“He’s had a history of leg problems, as violent as he is with his windup and coming off of it, but he’s always been able to (get) through it,” Gardenhire said. “This time, he’s pretty sore,”

Carpenter’s last major league appearance was May 16, when he gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits in five innings against Cleveland. His last two outings for the Mud Hens were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Columbus hammered him for nine runs on 14 hits in just three innings on May 21, but Carpenter (0-1, 8.31 ERA with Detroit) bounced back to limit Norfolk to one unearned run in six innings on May 26.

Another left-hander, Andrew Heaney (3-2, 3.09 ERA), will start for the Angels. He’s coming off one of his best outings this season, holding the New York Yankees to one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings on May 25.

“It’s a good feeling to give the team a chance to win,” Heaney told MLB.com after that start. “Obviously, we didn’t come out on the right side, but I kept us in it and that’s all they can ask for, that’s all I can ask for.”

Heaney will be making his first appearance against the Tigers. He’ll try to cool off right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, who has at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games and six multi-hit games in that span. Castellanos smacked three hits in Detroit’s 6-1 victory on Wednesday night.

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has also been red-hot at the plate. He carries an eight-game hitting streak into Thursday’s matinee.

Simmons is batting .333 to complement his usual Gold Glove defense. He made a diving catch to rob Victor Martinez of a hit on Wednesday.

“Whether he gets picked or not, he’s an All-Star,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com. “I think he’s been an All-Star for a number of years.”

Angels third baseman Zack Cozart was out of Wednesday’s lineup due to left forearm tightness. Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias left the game after the sixth inning with a right hip contusion.