The Tigers dealing with a tired, battered and overworked bullpen after pitching a combined 17 1/3 innings over four games with the Rangers, the team announced right-handed reliever Luke Putkonen would be recalled from Triple-A Toledo in time for Tuesday night's game in Cleveland.
To make room on the roster, recently called up Evan Reed was optioned to Toledo after Sunday night's 11-8 loss in Texas.
Putkonen was originally sent to Toledo when the Tigers activated Phil Coke off the 15-Day DL on May 11. Ineligible to be recalled when Al Alburquerque was demoted to Triple-A on May 16, the Tigers were forced to bring up Reed from the Mud Hens in Putkonen's stead.
Putkonen made two appearances during his brief return to the Mud Hens, including a start on Friday. He allowed one run and one hit in 6 1/3 innings.
Reed made his major league debut with the Tigers after bouncing around with three organizations over seven minor league seasons. In two appearances with the Tigers, both against the Rangers, Reed had a 2.25 ERA, allowing one run in four innings.
When Putkonen was sent to Triple-A, Jim Leyland made a point to call him a big league pitcher. Before he was sent down, Putkonen earned his first career victory, had not allowed a hit or run, striking out four in two appearances over 2 2/3 innings. At the time, he had become a victim of numbers, the odd man out in a well staffed bullpen.
But things change. Octavio Dotel remains out indefinitely with an elbow injury. Bruce Rondon, Brayan Villarreal and Alburquerque have been demoted due to ineffectiveness. The Tigers' starters were battered by the Rangers to the point where they only pitched 15 2/3 innings in four games, leaving an exhausted bullpen in dire straits after a brutal series.
All of which adds up to the need of a fresh arm in the bullpen. It's Luke Putkonen to the Tigers' rescue.