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Mud Hens starters Oliver, Crosby stumble in spotlight

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When Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, many thought the logical move for the Tigers would be to promote left-hander Duane Below from the bullpen to the rotation. After all, he was a starter candidate for most of spring training. However, the Tigers left the door open for a member of the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens to earn a promotion.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland told the media:

"I have no clue who's gonna start, absolutely none. Villarreal has joined the team and we will have a starter at the appropriate time. Who it is, I have no clue. None."

The plan was apparently to have a team official at lefty Andy Oliver's start Sunday, and possibly even Leyland there for lefty Casey Crosby's start Monday. That didn't go well for either.

As detailed by John Wagner of the Toledo Blade, Oliver walked five batters and allowed five runs while going less than four innings against the Indianapolis Indians.

The southpaw fell behind in the count 2-0 to 10 of the 19 hitters he faced -- one batter in the first, two in the second, four in the third, and three more in the fourth.

According to the box score, Oliver threw just 42 strikes in 82 pitches. He also allowed five hits, though he did strike out four.

On Monday, Crosby made it into the fifth inning, but failed to record any outs (which wasn't entirely his fault) while allowing six runs (four earned). On the other hand, he did find some successes. He only walked two while striking out six, for instance. But on the whole, it was hardly a promotion-winning job, I think we can agree.

Ultimately, it's good to assess all your options before making a decision. But it seems to be the best decision would be to promote Below to the rotation for now and check back on the others if -- or when -- it is necessary.