Tigers rearrange bullpen deck chairs: Jose Ortega up, Justin Miller down

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers replace one journeyman right-hander with another, calling up Jose Ortega from Triple-A Toldeo while sending down Justin Miller.

Claiming the need for fresh arms after using five relievers to protect a nine run lead in Friday's 10-6 victory, the Detroit Tigers have recalled right-handed reliever Jose Ortega from Triple-A Toledo.

Justin Miller was optioned to Triple-A. after his unimpressive outing in the win over the Twins, allowing two inherited runners to score and charged with a run.

Brad Ausmus says Miller wasn't sent down for performance reasons. The team just plain needs a fresh arm in the bullpen. They are also lacking a true middle reliever who is comfortable pitching more than one inning.

"We ran through so many arms. It wasn't anything Justin did."

The 25-year-old Ortgea has had cups of coffee in Detroit the last two seasons. Ortega made a pair of relief appearance in June and July of 2012, posting a 3.38 ERA. He allowed one run while striking out four and charged with a blown save in 2 2/3 innings.

If 2012 was a short, 2013 could be considered a venti.

Ortega was called up for the month of May in 2013, recording an 0-2 record and a 3.86 ERA in 11 2/3 innings over 11 appearances.He didn't allow a run his his first six 2013 appearances. But a four game stretch with a 10.38 ERA (five runs in 4 1/3 innings, including four walks, seven hits and two home runs) sealed Ortega's Triple-A fate.

Patrick profiled Ortega this spring as part of our Better Know a Tiger series:

In his brief time in the major leagues, Ortega would have been considered mostly effective were it not for the home run ball. His only home run allowed in 2012 came on a solo shot.In the two games where he allowed runs in 2013, he was also victimized by the long ball. He was tagged with a blown save and a loss in the two games, but otherwise held his own.

After battling injuries in 2011 and 2012 -- posting ERA's of 6.30 and 5.74, respectively -- Ortega rebounded in 2013 with an ERA of 1.86 a WHIP of 1.26, and held opposing hitters to a .168 batting average. His nemesis was the number of walks he issued, which is something he has worked on in Venezuela over the winter.

Pitching out of the Mud Hens bullpen in 2014, Ortega hasn't posted spectacular numbers: 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA. His WHIP is an unremarkable 1.50 WHIP, with six walks and ten strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. Reports out of Toledo have Ortega hitting 94-9 MPH on the radar, with minimal fastball command.

Miller's short call up come to an end after one run, four hits and three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings over four appearances.

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