The Detroit Tigers fired up their Detroit to Toledo shuttle after Friday night's loss in order to make room for Doug Fister and add emergency depth to a suddenly depleted bullpen.
With Fister deemed healthy and scheduled to start Saturday afternoon, he was reinstated from the 15-day DL. To make room on the 25 man roster, the Tigers demoted 2nd baseman/outfielder Matt Young and starting pitcher Casey Crosby. Why were both Young and Crosby placed on the Triple A shuttle? In a bit of a surprise move, the Tigers also recalled 27 year old right handed relief pitcher Thad Weber from Toledo to bolster the relief corps.
Fister was placed on the DL on May 30th after aggravating a left side strain in his Memorial Day start against the Boston Red Sox. Thanks to a pair of extended stays on the DL due to a lingering side strain, the Tigers' number 2 starter has made only 6 appearances in 2012. Fister is 0-3 on the season mostly due to a lack of run support, as his solid 3.15 ERA attests.
This will be Weber's second stint with the Tigers in 2012. He was called up on April 21st, only to be shipped out 5 days later. In 2 games with the Tigers, Weber posted an 0-1 record with a 9.00 ERA, allowing 4 runs and 10 hits in two relief appearances. With the Mud Hens, Weber has a 4-5 record and 3.73 ERA in 11 games, 10 of those starts. He's not coming off of a confidence inspiring performance. His last start was on June 11th, Weber lasting only 1 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. But he's fully rested, so he gets the call.
The reason given for Weber's recall was the unexpected need for an extra reliever. Post horrific, ugly, extra innings loss, Jim Leyland told the media the Tigers will be short Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit and Brayan Villarreal on Saturday. All are scheduled for a day of rest.
Casey Crosby's first big league cup of coffee lasted only 12 1/3 innings and 3 starts. His 2nd appearance was easily his best, a 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians, Crosby tossing 5 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs and 5 hits. Overall though, the numbers were less than stellar, Crosby posting a 1-1 record, 9.49 ERA and 2.11 WHIP.
Despite Drew Smyly landing on the 15-day DL earlier this week with a nasty blister, a day off on Monday means the Tigers can afford to run with 4 starting pitchers until next weekend. Thus Crosby was deemed expendable in order to add Weber as bullpen protection.
Matt Young was living on MLB borrowed time from the get-go. His time ran out a little after 11 PM Friday night. Even his Tigers debut was delayed by a couple of days, the team cancelling his original call up due to injuries in the bullpen. Young was finally brought to Detroit when Andy Driks was placed on the 15-day DL (sense a trend?) on June 3rd. Young appeared in only 5 games, hitting .182/.200/.382 in 10 at bats.
Due to his 25th man status and reputation as a minor league depth player, it was obvious Young would be shipped out when the Tigers had to re-shuffle the roster. With Ryan Raburn now back on the bench and the need to add pitching, Young was deemed an easily replaceable part whose services were no longer needed. Unless there's another freak rash of injuries, it's unlikely you'll see Young again this season...unless you buy a ticket to see the Mud Hens.