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Tigers' Farm Moves - 5/26/11

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Detroit

5/24

Phil Coke (LHP) placed on disabled list
Designated Robbie Weinhardt (RHP) for assignment
Called up Adam Wilk (LHP) from Toledo Mud Hens

5/23

Transferred Carlos Guillen (UT) to 60-day disabled list
Called up Enrique Gonzalez (RHP) from Toledo Mud Hens

5/21

Placed Brad Thomas (LHP) on disabled list
Recalled Charlie Furbush (LHP) from Toledo Mud Hens

Thomas going on the disabled list was the first move in a busy week for the Tigers' pitching staff in terms of transactions. Furbush was called up as a result and responded to his first call by covering nearly four innings for the injured Phil Coke. Would Thomas have been able to salvage that game? Let's hope the Tigers don't forget the answer to that when the time comes.

Calling up Gonzalez, who was anything but effective in his last go-around in Detroit, may seem strange but if you look at the 40-man, there really weren't a lot of alternatives.

Finally, we have the whirlwind set off by Phil Coke's bruised foot bone and the resulting trip to the disabled list. It was decided Andy Oliver would fill Coke's spot in the rotation, but rather than waste the roster spot on an unavailable starter, the Tigers called up Adam Wilk to help out should innings be needed out of the bullpen. If the Tigers would have come back on the field Wednesday, they might have needed Wilk. If he is sent back down to make room for Oliver when Andy is called up for his start, he probably won't even get a chance to taste his cup of coffee. Then again, the Red Sox do have a lot of lefty hitters.

It is disappointing to see Weinhardt get moved off the 40-man for a pitcher who may not throw a major league inning during this assignment, but there is certainly something off with Weinhardt. His velocity seems to be down and he's been getting hit fairly regularly since being sent to Toledo. Not only that, the two homers he's allowed with the Hens nearly doubled his minor league total. Hopefully the Tiger took a calculated risk that he'll clear waivers and will figure out how to get him back on track to being a big league reliever.

Toledo

5/25

Re-assigned L.J. Gagnier (RHP) to Toledo Mud Hens from Erie SeaWolves

5/24

Released Chris Oxspring (RHP)

5/23

Optioned Brayan Villarreal (RHP) to Toledo Mud Hens

5/21

Re-assigned Ramon Garcia (LHP) to Toledo Mud Hens from Erie SeaWolves

Garcia was called up so he could give the Hens a spot start on Sunday in place of Charlie Furbush. He gave the Hens a chance to win, but he seems to have lost some velocity off what I understand used to be a mid-90s fastball. Brayan Villarreal wasn't pitching all that effectively and therefore wasn't getting a lot of time out of the bullpen. Rather than let him tarnish as an unused reliever, they sent him back to Toledo to get more work on his pitches. With all the other moves, I expect that work will come as a starter in Toledo. Don't let that affect your expectations of how he'll be used in Detroit, though.

It may seem odd to release Oxspring among all these call-ups and injuries. However, don't forget he was moved to the temporary inactive list to make room for Jose Ortega when Ortega came off the disabled list. That means his release didn't really impact the Hens' roster among the rosterial (word coined) chaos.

Finally, we see a pretty predictable move to get the Hens the proper number of starters for the coming weekend in the promotion of Gagnier. A lot of people were surprised he was placed in Erie after succeeding in Toledo last season, but he gave way to pitchers the Tigers as having more promise in terms of big league futures. Since those big league futures are coming to fruition, a spot has opened up and it's up to Gagnier to make the most of it.

Erie

5/25

Re-assigned Jay Voss (LHP) to Erie SeaWolves from Lakeland Flying Tigers
Re-assigned Zach Samuels (RHP) to Erie SeaWolves from Lakeland Flying Tigers

Short a reliever (Garcia) and a starter (Gagnier), the SeaWolves get their reinforcements from Lakeland in the form of Samuels (relief) and Voss (starter). Voss was miserable in Erie as a reliever last season, but has been throwing well as a starter in Lakeland. I think he still has a long way to go to enter the conversation as a prospect. Samuels is another non-prospect and came into the organization as an undrafted free agent, but has stuck around. He was effective in Lakeland and will hope to keep a nice season going with the SeaWolves.

Lakeland

5/25

Re-assigned Luis Angel Sanz (RHP) to Lakeland Flying Tigers from extended spring training

5/20

Re-assigned Kevan Hess (RHP) to Lakeland Flying Tigers from extended spring training
Placed Jordan Pratt (RHP) on the 7-Day disabled list

Pratt went on the disabled list after taking a line drive to the head. It was a scary situation that landed him in the ICU, which obviously leaves the matter of when he'll return as a distant concern relative to his overall recovery. Hess was called up to fill his spot and expectations for his results should be conservative.

Sanz was called up to fill in for the departed Voss. I'm running out of nice alternatives to saying guys are non-prospects but I'll just point out this is Sanz's first time at Hi A and he's been in the organization since 2006.

West Michigan

5/23

Re-assigned Tim Mowry (RHP) to West Michigan from extended spring training
Placed Jeff Ferrell (RHP) on the 7-Day disabled list

5/21

Re-assigned Richard Zumaya (RHP) to extended spring training
Activated Ramon Lebron (RHP) from the 7-Day disabled list
Placed Nate Newman (RHP) on the 7-Day disabled list

Newman apparently went down with a strained hamstring, and fortunately for the Caps, Lebron was ready to come off the disabled list at the same time. The transaction wire has Zumaya going back to Florida for extended spring training, but Matt Eddy of Baseball America reported on Twitter that he's been released. His position in the organization compared with a player's normal growth curve makes that an unsurprising move.

Jeff Ferrell continues to battle elbow soreness, so the Tigers filled his spot on the roster with Mowry. Mowry is another undrafted free agent and will be 24 in September.