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Casey Mize’s long-awaited return delayed as Tigers and Mets get rained out. Makeup game Thursday

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NEW YORK (AP) — After waiting nearly two years to get back on a big league mound, Casey Mize had to stay patient for at least another day.

Mize was scheduled to start Tuesday night for the unbeaten Detroit Tigers, but their game against the winless New York Mets was postponed because of rain.

The game will be made up at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, originally an off day for both teams. Detroit plays its home opener Friday afternoon against Oakland. New York is at Cincinnati on Friday night.

With the rainout, Mize was pushed back to Wednesday night — weather permitting. Sidelined by Tommy John surgery and a back operation, the top pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of Auburn hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since April 14, 2022, at Kansas City.

“I’m proud of him because it has been a lot of work to get to this point. Much of it, none of us have seen,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “And the first competitive juices that he got were in the spring. So, this will be a whole ‘nother level. And so, what does Mother Nature do? Rewards him with some unknowns.”

Mize, who turns 27 on May 1, was 7-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 30 starts for Detroit as a rookie in 2021.

Finally healthy again, the right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 20 1/3 innings in six spring training games this year, including five starts.

“He’s earned this right,” Hinch said. “He pitched his way onto this team, and he’ll take any conditions to compete again at this level.”

Right-hander Adrian Houser, acquired from Milwaukee in a December trade, was set to make his Mets debut Tuesday and instead was pushed back to Wednesday night as well.

Showers fell all day in New York City, and the tarp was never removed from the Citi Field infield. With steady rain in the forecast Wednesday that could put that night’s game in jeopardy also, the teams waited almost two hours before Tuesday night’s game was called.

“We can’t control the weather. So, in an ideal world we get the games in when we’re supposed to get the games in,” Hinch said about four hours before the postponement. “I think the biggest, most important thing is to not waste pitching.”

Detroit is 4-0 for its best start since opening with six wins in 2015. All four victories have come on the road — two in extra innings and the first three (against the Chicago White Sox) by one run.

Under new manager Carlos Mendoza, the Mets are 0-4 for the first time since losing their first five games in 2005. They also had a rookie manager that season: Willie Randolph.

“You hate to go through it. You hate to see it, especially the way we’ve been playing. They know. They know we’re better than that,” Mendoza said. “But at the same time, it’s not the first time that they’ve gone through it. It just happens to be the first four games of the season. And everything that we went through over the weekend, not the way we expected it. But again, pretty confident with the guys that we’ve got in that room, we’ll turn it around pretty soon here.”

New York was rained out for the second time already this season, after last week’s opener against Milwaukee was pushed back a day until Friday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Baseball Writer

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