The overtaxed Tigers bullpen and Detroit’s strenuous early-season schedule finally forced a roster move Wednesday morning. Right-hander Alfredo Figaro has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo, with utilityman Ryan Raburn heading back to the Hens to make room.
It isn’t a move manager Jim Leyland wanted to make, but with two games Wednesday, another potential bullpen start looming Sunday and no off-day in sight until May 24, he had to do it.
“It’s a matter where we were short on pitching,” Leyland said.
Figaro was scheduled to start for the Mud Hens in the next few days. No word on who will take his spot.
Raburn was off to a rough start to be sure. However, the fact that he had a minor-league option left played a huge role. Don Kelly, by contrast, would’ve needed to pass through waivers and be outrighted.
“Hopefully this will be a very short stint for Raburn down there,” Leyland said.
Unless there’s a DL move, Raburn has to stay down on the farm at least 10 days. He can’t be recalled until next Saturday, when the Tigers are in Los Angeles, the midpoint of their seven-game, eight-day West Coast trip.
Beyond the bullpen consideration, too, there’s the matter of Leyland finding a starter for Sunday. Because Tuesday’s rainout pushed back Rick Porcello’s start by a day, he would have to start on three days’ rest to go Sunday, and Leyland isn’t going to do that. Nor will he likely to do that for Jeremy Bonderman.
That would leave Leyland’s options at another bullpen start or calling up somebody. Leyland brushed off the question Wednesday morning, indicating that the decision hasn’t been made.
“It’s too far in advance to make any sort of decision on stuff like that,” Leyland said. “We talked about it at length last night.”