After this afternoon's 7-2 win over the Giants, the Detroit Tigers switched outfielders on their roster. Clete Thomas has been activated from the 15-day disabled list, and Brent Clevlen was sent down to Triple-A Toledo to clear a spot for him. Here's the story from MLB.com's Jason Beck.
At first glance, this seems like a huge disappointment for Clevlen, but Jim Leyland still seems to hold him in high regard:
"I think Clevlen is really, really close to being a Major League player for sure."
It's not like Clevlen put up dazzling numbers since getting called up to the bigs 12 days ago. He's batted .217/.308/.217 with one RBI in 27 plate appearances. But events simply conspired against the young man.
Though Clevlen had been lighting it up in Toledo, he was promoted from Toledo to take Thomas's spot on the roster in the first place. And his ability to stay in the lineup was thwarted by Marcus Thames' six-game streak of power. Such a hot bat was not going to be taken out of the lineup. In addition, Curtis Granderson is starting to play more against left-handed pitching, and has done relatively well in that match-up. Finally, consider that Gary Sheffield is probably a few days away from rejoining the Tigers, which fills the DH spot that Thames or Magglio Ordonez might have taken to get Clevlen onto the field.
The Tigers obviously think it's better for Clevlen to get regular at-bats in Toledo, instead of sitting on the bench and hoping for Leyland to give Thames or Granderson the day off. It's a tough, frustrating break, but if the organization was ready to give up on Clevlen, they probably would've done so already. He'll be back.