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Brad Ausmus: JaCoby Jones’ call-up an attempt to jump-start quiet offense

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Meanwhile, the Tigers are shuffling their roster by sending Matt Boyd to Toledo until the Mud Hens' season ends.

MLB: Detroit Tigers-Workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT — There were a flurry of rotation moves on Tuesday, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said JaCoby Jones’ call-up was not connected to Cameron Maybin’s MRI results from his Monday night thumb injury. And with the bullpen in need of a fresh arm, additional changes needed to be made, if only for a few days.

The Tigers did get Maybin’s MRI results back, but because the doctor responsible for examining the results was in the middle of a surgery at the time, establishing the extent of Maybin’s injury will remain in the air for now. JaCoby Jones’ call-up to Detroit also gives the team some insurance in the event that Maybin misses time, and a backup at third base (he starts there Tuesday night) with Nick Castellanos recovering from his non-displaced left wrist fracture.

Ausmus’ reasoning for getting Jones to Comerica Park was to inject some life in an otherwise stagnant offense. Casey McGehee contributed to that problem, he said, thus his demotion to Toledo. Really, though, the team doesn’t know how bad Maybin’s injury is, and until then they’re going to make moves based on other areas — with insurance for the future in case the results are worse than hoped for.

The Tigers’ .174 ISO in the last 14 days is smack dab in the middle of the pack for MLB, but that’s more to do with other teams than with Detroit’s inability to push runs across. They're fresh off a five-game winning streak in which they scored eight or more runs in four of those games, and have had less than four runs in just two games out of their last eight.

Matt Boyd could stay in the rotation despite being optioned

With respect to Matt Boyd, his option to Triple-A has more to do with getting a fresh bullpen arm up, and getting Boyd away from the MLB roster for a few days while the Mud Hens finish their season on Sept. 5. Because the Tigers can’t call Boyd up again for 10 days or until the season ends, it’s simply a creative way to stash him away and let him rest until then.

That leaves the Tigers with the ability to leave Boyd in their rotation, essentially just pushing back his next slotted start date until then (which was tentatively slated for Sunday). Of course, if Maybin’s injury is season-ending, that will allow the Tigers to call Boyd up regardless. Either way, Boyd’s ability to be on the playoff roster won’t be affected because of the move, because he’s already been on the roster.

Here's the Tigers' rotation for the next five days:

Tuesday: Daniel Norris vs. Anthony Ranaudo (White Sox)
Wednesday: Justin Verlander vs. Chris Sale (White Sox)
Thursday: Off day
Friday: Anibal Sanchez vs. TBD (Royals)
Saturday: Michael Fulmer vs. TBD (Royals)
Sunday: Daniel Norris vs. TBD (Royals)

As to those September call-ups, the Tigers have settled on who they’re going to bring to Detroit when the rosters expand, but obviously that’s not been given out just yet since none of the players have been informed.

Mike Pelfrey and Jordan Zimmermann continue their rehabs

Pelfrey’s last rehab was on Monday, so his next step is a side bullpen session before starting on Saturday for the Mud Hens. After that, there hasn’t been a decision because his next start would fall on Sept. 8, which is after Toledo’s season ends. There’s a possibility that he could continue his rehab in West Michigan with the Whitecaps, but that’s not been determined yet.

It could also be that Pelfrey doesn’t need an additional rehab start and the Tigers activate him to pitch out of the bullpen, but until his Saturday start the team won’t know either way. In Zimmermann’s case, he has at least two more rehab starts to go. He starts for Toledo on Wednesday, and then he’ll close out the Mud Hens’ season on Monday, Sept. 5.

After that, the Tigers will decide how to proceed, whether that’s to activate Zimmermann or continue his rehab elsewhere, which could include a simulated game with the major league team. That’s also an option for Castellanos whenever he reaches the point of being ready to rehab.