The Tigers made several moves Friday that had an immediate effect on the Mud Hens roster. Here's a look ...
- Detroit designated for assignment RHP Jose Valverde and called up RHP Al Alburquerque from Toledo. Valverde bashing has become the rage in Detroit, and with good reason: In seven June appearances, the 35-year-old allowed 11 hits and a pair of walks in 6.2 innings that resulted in seven earned runs. For the season, Valverde was 0-1 with nine saves and a 5.59 ERA.
Valverde is being removed from the 40-man roster; other teams have a chance to claim him on waivers. If Valverde is not claimed by another team, he can choose to pitch for the Mud Hens or become a free agent.
Alburquerque was 0-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 10 games for the Mud Hens. He allowed nine hits and 13 walks in just 14.1 innings but did strike out 27. In his last three starts Alburquerque has had better control; in four innings he didn't allow a hit and walked only two while striking out nine.
He last pitched for the Mud Hens Monday against Lehigh Valley and was impressive, striking out all five hitters he faced.
A few numbers from that appearance: He threw 27 pitches, 17 for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to four of the five batters he faced, reached a 2-0 count to one batter and an 0-2 count to two others.
Alburquerque didn't throw many fastballs -- just nine of his 27 pitchers were fastballs. The fastball sat at 94-96 mph (three at 94, two at 95, one at 96, one at 97 and one at 98). Six of the nine were strikes (two taken, two fouled, two swung at and missed).
He threw a whopping 18 sliders against Lehigh Valley, 11 of which were strikes (four fouled at, seven swung at and missed). The slider sat at 86-89 mph (three at 86, five at 87, two at 88, seven at 89).
In short, Alburquerque got a LOT of swings and misses with the slider, as you would expect against Triple-A hitters. His fastball command has been better recently, and that will be the key if he wants to have success with the Tigers.
- Detroit placed OF Matt Tuiasosopo on the disabled list and called up OF Avisail Garcia from the Mud Hens. Garcia was only with the Hens one day, going 1-for-4 against Lehigh Valley Thursday. In 11 games with Toledo, Garcia hit .449 with a home run and six RBIs.
I've been asked: Why did the Tigers promote a centerfielder when the player they put on the disabled list was a leftfielder? Two reasons: First, Garcia has played in the corner outfield positions as well and isn't a centerfielder only. Second, Garcia is on the 40-man roster, while other potential outfield replacements (read: Nick Castellanos) is NOT on the 40-man, so the Tigers would have to open a spot for him.
- At this point the Mud Hens have 23 players on the roster. And at this point Toledo will play two men short tonight against Pawtucket. There is a strong chance the Mud Hens will add another pitcher from some source -- most likely Double-A Erie. At this point no decision has been made as to what pitcher may be promoted.
The Mud Hens did add LHP Blaine Hardy to the roster, but he is the replacement for LHP Casey Crosby (who was placed on the disabled list Thursday).