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Robbie Ray will replace Sanchez in Tigers' starting rotation, at least temporarily

The Tigers will recall left handed starting pitcher, Robbie Ray, from triple-A Toledo, to replace Anibal Sanchez in their starting rotation, at least for now.

Duane Burleson

The Tigers will call up left handed starting pitcher, Robbie Ray, from Triple-A Toledo to take the place of Anibal Sanchez, at least for the time being. Ray is expected to start on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park. Sanchez will be out of action for a few weeks with a strained pectoral muscle, and is not expected back until at least mid- September.

Ray made his major league debut with the Tigers earlier this season, making four appearances, including three starts in May. He allowed just one run in his first two starts against the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins, but then gave up seven runs on nine hits and four walks in a start against the Texas Rangers before being sent back down to Toledo.  His minor league season has gone pretty much the same way, with a couple of solid starts and a bad start every third or fourth outing.

Tigers’ President and General Manager, Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that the club will see how Ray pitches on Wednesday before naming him as the regular replacement for Sanchez, but he will get first crack at the job opening. When Sanchez went on the disabled list with a blister on his throwing hand in May, Ray got the call to Detroit. But when there was an opening in June, he was bypassed in favor of Drew VerHagen.

Here are Ray’s vital statistics for the 2014 season and his minor league career, spanning five seasons:

W- L
2014 minors 19 96.2 3.72 1.47 0.6 3.7
1.78 7- 5
Career minors 89 434.1 4.17 1.38 0.7 3.9 8.6 2.19 24- 25
2014 MLB 4 15.1 4.70 1.63 0.31 3.5 5.3 1.50 1- 1

Ray was acquired in the much criticized trade that sent Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals. He was ranked the 97th best prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2014 season. Some have him listed as the Tigers' best prospect currently. He is a six-foot-two, 22 year old left hander, who was selected by the Nationals in the twelfth round of the 2010 draft out of Brentwood high school in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Ray has recently added a slider to his arsenal since being sent back to the minor leagues in May. Ray and his coaches feel that the change has really helped him. Toledo manager, Larry Parrish, told the Detroit News:

"Early in the year, he didn't have a breaking ball, so he threw the change. Now that he's been working on a breaking ball and a slider, he's gotten away from throwing the change. He still needs to work on being a three pitch pitcher. He's been having trouble taking that mindset into the game."

While the club has also placed relief pitcher, Joakim Soria, on the disabled list, they have not yet announced a replacement. The smart money might be on Justin Miller, who has been pitching well at Toledo. The team might also temporarily call up another relief pitcher to take Sanchez’s place on the roster, since Ray will not be needed until Wednesday. The team heads to Pittsburgh for two games on Monday and Tuesday, with two games against the Pirates scheduled in Detroit on Wednesday and Thursday.