March 21st, 2009

Miner out of rotation running

The shuffling of Rick Porcello pushed Zach Miner out of what might’ve been a starting assignment for Saturday. But it isn’t just the Spring Training rotation in which Miner is on the outside looking in.

Manager Jim Leyland told Miner on Saturday that barring something unforeseen, he will not be in the Tigers rotation when the season opens in little more than two weeks.

That confirms what had been expected, that Miner would be used as a reliever on this club. Whether he’s set to make the Tigers bullpen, however, is a question Leyland left unanswered when he talked with reporters Saturday morning.

The recent performance of left-hander Nate Robertson, who has had back-to-back solid performances, might well have accelerated the decision to pull Miner from the starting competition. Robertson, Miner and Dontrelle Willis were viewed as the leading candidates going into camp, with Porcello as a long shot before his continued strong performances and impressive poise seemingly forced his way into serious consideration.

While Porcello and Robertson have started to stand out, Miner has had a statistically rough Spring Training, allowing 14 earned runs on 23 hits over 13 innings. He had been relatively consistent throwing strikes until his final outing last Monday, when he walked three Cardinals over as many innings.