The Detroit Tigers answered two key questions this morning by placing Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya on the 15-day disabled list. Zumaya isn't really a surprise, as he's been very slow to recover from a sore shoulder and only thrown one inning this spring. But Willis's status raises an eyebrow, as he wasn't placed on the DL with a physical injury, but rather "anxiety disorder."
According to Willis, the diagnosis was made after something came up in a blood test that raised concern among team doctors. Apparently, however, the condition (as nebulous as it might sound) is treatable.
"This is not depression," Willis said. "This is something totally different. This is something where they saw something in my blood that they didn't like. "I'm not crazy, though my teammates might think that I'm crazy."
I can't even pretend to speculate what sort of anxiety disorder would show up in a blood test, nor would I really care to. I'm sure this will only add to the belief among many that whatever is behind Willis's struggles since coming to Detroit is a mental issue. But without an exact explanation of the malady (one we may never get, by the way), who can say for certain? Regardless of the reason, the plight of the D-Train continues to become more curious and more troublesome.
From a baseball standpoint, this gives Detroit some more time to figure out what to do with a pitcher who looks more like a reclamation project than a major league starter. In 8.2 innings this spring, Willis allowed 15 runs, 17 hits, and seven walks. This might now be bigger than a baseball problem, however.
One more roster move the Tigers made today was to return left-handed reliever Kyle Bloom to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bloom was Detroit's Rule 5 draft pick last summer, and had to be on the Tigers' 25-man roster throughout the season to remain with the team.
Initially this spring, it appeared as if he might be able to win a job as the bullpen's second lefty, but couldn't maintain that performance (eventually giving up six runs in 5.1 innings) while other relievers began to assert themselves.
[Editor's Note: Bumped up to top of the page at 3:30 p.m. EST]