As noted at the end of last night's recap, the Detroit Tigers have designated Juan Rincon for assignment to clear a spot on the major league roster for Dontrelle Willis, who will be activated for tonight's game. According to Jason Beck, Rincon has three days to decide whether or not to report to Triple-A Toledo. If he prefers otherwise, he'll become a free agent. However, as John Lowe mentioned in his report, the Tigers have 10 days in which to work out a trade.
Rincon was one of the surprises of Spring Training, not allowing a run in 14.1 innings, while throwing 12 strikeouts versus five walks. But he couldn't carry that level of performance into the regular season. After allowing four runs in 3.1 innings to open the season in Toronto, it felt like Jim Leyland lost confidence in Rincon's ability to pitch in important late-inning situations.
That was reflected in how little he was used after that. Perhaps that was partially due to the emergence of Ryan Perry and the return of Joel Zumaya (along with a likely unwilingness to eat Brandon Lyon's $4.25 million contract) but Rincon only pitched in five games since that season-opening series, with almost all of those appearances coming in mop-up duty.
In seven games with Detroit altogether, Rincon finished with a 5.23 ERA, allowing 12 hits, 10 strikeouts, and six walks in 10.1 innings.