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Nate Robertson's Elbow Bails Out the Tigers

Following up on this morning's post about Fu-Te Ni being called up from Triple-A Toledo, the Detroit Tigers soon thereafter announced who would be moved off the roster to make room for him. (Had we waited about an hour or so, we could've included everything in one tidy post.)

Nate Robertson is headed to the 15-day disabled list, due to a cyst-like mass in his left elbow. He'll head back to Detroit to be examined by team doctors, with surgery to remove the mass likely coming on Tuesday.

According to Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand, the mass in Robertson's elbow was causing tingling and numbness in his fingers by pressing on a nerve. From Jason Beck's article:

"He's had the masses, but it's like someone who has bone chips," Rand said. "People who have bone chips or bone spurs in their elbow, they don't do anything with them until they become an issue. It's something that had not affected him in any way pitching prior to this. It's starting to affect him with numbness and tingling in his hand."

For the season, Robertson has a 7.74 ERA in 21 innings, allowing 25 hits with 17 strikeouts and 14 walks. Since losing his job in the starting rotation in Spring Training, Jim Leyland has struggled to find a proper role out of the bullpen for him. In recent appearances, Robertson failed to perform as a situational left-hander.

While it might be a stretch to claim that the elbow problem is the primary reason for Robertson's struggles this season (he'd hadn't pitching well for quite some time), at least it gives the Tigers a convenient opportunity to make a roster move that temporarily solves a season-long dilemma. And now, perhaps the Tigers can utilize a pitcher who can fill that situational lefty role better, allowing the overall bullpen to work more smoothly.