If Armando Galarraga was preparing to return to Toledo once Dontrelle Willis returns from the disabled list, maybe he should put those plans on hold. Because it looks like the ol' D-Train might need some more tuning up on his minor league rehab assignment. (Trains don't really get tuned up, do they? Another stretch of a metaphor, brought to you by BYB.)
Check out the numbers Willis put up last night against the Charlotte Knights: Five runs, seven hits (two of which were home runs), and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. (The smart-alecky among us - who dat? - might say such a stat line fits him right in with the Tigers' starting rotation.) The Mud Hens' bats kept him from taking the loss, however, as Jeff Larish, Mike Hessman, Michael Hollimon, and Dane Sardinha each hit home runs, giving their starter run support that the big league guys still haven't consistently provided.
But maybe you can't discern the D-Train's performance solely by the numbers. At least that's what they were saying on the Toledo side after the game:
"It looked like it was pretty good through about 70 pitches tonight," Mud Hens' manager Larry Parrish said. "I thought he threw the ball well. He just ran out of gas a little at the end."
Much like with a Spring Training start, perhaps it's somewhat unfair to judge a player on a rehab assignment, as he could be trying to work on something particular, rather than focus entirely on results. (Though you would think the two would eventually cross purposes.) But it's difficult to imagine the Tigers looking at what Willis did in this game and thinking he's ready to be called up. He has one more rehab start scheduled for Saturday, but why not wait until Willis shows he's truly ready? Especially when Galarraga is still pitching well enough to warrant more big league starts.