UPDATE: Papa Grande is a Tiger again.
Villarreal to Toledo, Potato to Detroit.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) April 23, 2013
Original post: Two years ago, Mgoblog -- a very popular blog covering Michigan football, basketball, and other sports -- spent the better part of a month tracking the flights of athletic director David Brandon during a long and tedious search for the university's new head football coach. While we haven't quite reached that level yet here at BYB, we aren't above speculating the status of certain players within the organization.
Take, for instance, relief pitcher Jose Valverde.
Jose Valverde on my flight to Detroit. Looks like he's back.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) April 23, 2013
(For the uninitiated, Custance is an NHL writer for ESPN based out of Detroit.)
Jason Beck speculates that the Tigers are close to a decision on Valverde because of the Toledo Mud Hens' schedule this week.
Normally, a player reporting to Toledo would fly into Detroit Metro Airport. It’s the closest major airport, less than an hour away from Fifth Third Field. However, the Mud Hens are on the road for the next week and a half, and began a four-game series Tuesday in Durham, N.C.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are at home through next Wednesday. Though it’s entirely possible the team would check on Valverde before promoting him to Toledo, Valverde isn’t a pitcher dealing with a health issue.
Before we get too far, however, let's take a step back. The Tigers don't need to make a decision on Valverde until May 8th. It's possible that the Tigers brass -- Jim Leyland and pitching coach Jeff Jones, in particular -- want to see Valverde throw in person before bringing him up to Triple-A. The Tigers and Mud Hens don't have home games at the same time until mid-May, and even then there are only two overlapping days. It makes some logistical sense to get a look at him now before sending him off with the Mud Hens on an eight-game road trip.
That said, all signs point toward Valverde re-joining the Tigers sooner rather than later. If the Tigers like what they see from Valverde while he is in Detroit, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have him pitch in Toledo for a couple of weeks before bringing him north.
If Valverde is brought back, expect Brayan Villarreal to be optioned. Villarreal has allowed 10 earned runs on eight hits and eight walks in just 4 1/3 innings of work this season.