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Tigers' Farm Moves - 5/4/11

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I usually do these on Mondays, but then the Sizemore news came and I didn't want to skip commenting on that. The next day, we know Martinez was coming back so I figured I'd wait to see how the minor league catchers were re-arranged. Since the major league moves are probably finished for the time being - Maggs didn't look DL-bound Wednesday - I finally felt safe posting.

Toledo

5/4

Victor Martinez (C) returned from disabled list after completing rehab assignment with Toledo
Omir Santos (C) optioned to Toledo

5/3

Scott Sizemore (2B) called up to Detroit
Will Rhymes (2B) optioned to Toledo

4/28

Cesar Nicolas (1B/3B) assigned to Toledo from inactive list

4/26

Clay Timpner went on the disabled list with a strained right quad

Victor Martinez returned from the disabled list in the minimum 15 days on Wednesday after completing a two-game rehab stint with the Mud Hens in Pawtucket. As expected, the means of clearing up space on the roster was optioning Santos back to Toledo. He was scarcely used while he was in Detroit, and I'd imagine Alex Avila might end up being the player who's happiest to have Martinez back.

The day before Martinez's return, the big roster shake-up was a swap of starting second basemen. The Mud Hens get Rhymes and the Tigers get Sizemore. There's been a lot of speculation as to what can be taken from Sizemore's big month in Toledo. Many pointed out his batting average came on the back of over half his balls in play falling for hits. I think it's only fair, then, to point out he also usually has more hits go for extra bases than what we saw in the prior month. Add in his walk rate and you have the reason the Tigers felt he could be a major league second baseman in the first place.

Rhymes, on the other hand, finds himself in a situation very similar to Sizemore's last year. He'll have to go to Toledo and show he can get things figured out so he's ready if the Tigers need him. Unlike Sizemore last year, at least Rhymes is fully healthy (as far as I know).

Nicolas had been serving a 50-game suspension for amphetamines and came back at an opportune time with Timpner having just gone on the disabled list. Nicolas gives the team another corner infielder and often looked like the best hitter on last year's Erie squad. That's welcome, but he's unlikely to repeat the feat in Toledo.

Erie

5/4

John Murrian (C) re-assigned to Erie from Toledo

5/1

Cory Hamilton (RHP) returns from disabled list

Murrian was bumped from Toledo to make room for Santos. I thought the Santos move might cause a cut for one of the organization's veterans, but since they only re-arranged Murrian going to Erie wasn't a surprise. He hit a paltry .133/.149/.178 with just one walk and 12 strikeouts in 45 Triple A at bats.

Hamilton returned from the disabled list after taking a liner off his wrist. He had three good innings in his first game back, so hopefully his arm is refreshed from the time off. He had given up 14 runs in 4 2/3 innings over four outings before his injury.

Lakeland

5/4

Jeff Kunkel (C) re-assigned to Lakeland from Erie

5/1

Matt Little (RHP) re-assigned to Lakeland from Erie

Kunkel is the move I didn't anticipate. With five upper level catchers, I thought somebody would be shown the door. The Tigers opted to send Kunkel to Florida instead. That goes a long way toward answering the offseason questions I got about his long-term odds of making the majors.

Little had gone up to Erie to cover for Hamilton and now finds himself back in the Florida State League. His time in Erie and his performance with the Flying Tigers since returning suggests it's the better place for him right now.

West Michigan

5/4

Nate Newman (RHP) re-assigned to West Michigan from Lakeland
Logan Hoch (LHP) re-assigned to West Michigan from Extended Spring Training
Clemente Mendoza (RHP) sent back to Extended Spring Training
Steve Crnkovich (RHP) sent back to Extended Spring Training

5/1

Dan Gentzler (RHP) re-assigned to West Michigan from Lakeland

4/30

Richard Zumaya (RHP) went on the disabled list with stiffness in his shoulder

4/27

Jeff Ferrell (RHP) went on the disabled list with a sore elbow. what Mlive.com called elbow inflammation
Brennan Smith (RHP) re-assigned to West Michigan from Extended Spring Training

The Whitecaps just suffered through a franchise-record losing streak of 12 games, so the shakeups may not be finished. For now, Mendoza and Crnkovich are out and Newman and Hoch are in as the Caps shuffle their bullpen to look for some effectiveness. Prior to this shakeup, the Caps got Gentzler from Lakeland when Little returned to the FSL. That prevented them from having to replaced the injured Zumaya. No jokes, Joel's younger brother had stayed healthy to this point of his pro career.

The bullpen isn't the only staff getting shaken up either. Ferrell went on the disabled list with what Mlive.com called elbow inflammation. Ferrell had been solid in his three starts, but Smith - who I expected to be with the Caps at the start of the season - should be an apt replacement.