May 4th, 2006

"I'd rather have 13 pitchers than 11"

That was Leyland’s quote after the game, and it pretty much sums up the move to put Dmitri back on the roster. I know there had been some speculation on the forums about sending down Jordan Tata to start in Erie to make room for Young, and I think Tata might be back in Erie by the time the Tigers come back home. But on this one, the math wasn’t going to work out.

Leyland has said repeatedly during his starters’ recent run that this clearly wasn’t going to last forever, that you can’t rely on starters to pitch this well for a long stretch. His preference for a 12-man pitching staff is a constant, not just in bad times but in all times. The day Leyland goes to 11 pitchers is the day he expects his starters to go haywire and force him to exhaust his bullpen in a two-day stretch.

Clearly, though, the ample rest time is not what they want for Tata. And if Matt Mantei continues to pitch like he has been, it’s not hard to see him taking Tata’s place in the Tiger bullpen. The Tigers are paying attention to Mantei, who wouldn’t have come back for a job in Toledo if he didn’t have a good chance to get to Detroit. Even if you accept that Mantei is close, though, it would’ve been a real risk going into a road series short a pitcher, even if that series is against a team as shaky offensively as the Twins.

As for Gomez, while he had a big hit for them Wednesday, he was still a .222 hitter. And unless Young were to slump or re-injure himself, Gomez was going to sit around a lot. The waivers is a risk you take.

Young to be activated

Tigers announced after the game that they’re activating Dmitri Young from the DL tomorrow and designating Alexis Gomez for assignment. If no team claims Gomez by Tuesday, he’ll accept his assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Young will be back in the starting lineup, but Leyland emphasized he’ll have to hit.

"I’m not doing a trial here with Dmitri," Leyland said. "He’ll have to produce."

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