Despite Jim Leyland's initial insistence that Alfredo Figaro would get a good look in the Detroit Tigers' starting rotation, his major league audition turned out to be a quick one. Figaro was sent down to Triple-A Toledo after this afternoon's game, with Luke French coming up to take over the fifth starter's role.
According to Jason Beck, French will get in some work out of the bullpen during the Tigers' three-game series in Oakland, but is scheduled to start Friday night in Minnesota. The initial explanation for the move seemed to be less of a concern with Figaro's performance in Houston on Saturday, and more of a desire for the left-handed French to pitch against the Twins' lineup.
However, comments by Leyland before the game seemed to indicate that Tigers coaches suddenly had some questions about Figaro. From John Lowe's story in the Freep:
"He didn't throw the ball. Some pitches were 89 m.p.h. I was very disappointed because I thought the one thing he would be was aggressive, and he was totally un-aggressive. ... He pitched like he was looking at the names on the hitters' backs (i.e., showing them too much respect). ... He got after them a little better after the horse was out of the barn."
Beck also mentioned on his blog that there was some thought that Figaro might be tipping his pitches, which might explain why the Astros teed off on his breaking balls. Leyland, however, stuck to his belief that Figaro may have tried to get too cute with his pitches.
French has a 4-4 record and 2.98 ERA with the Mud Hens in 13 starts this season, compiling 72 strikeouts and 20 walks in 81.2 innings. French filled in briefly during Nate Robertson's first DL stint this season, pitching in two games, and allowing three strikeouts and three walks in three scoreless innings.