Magglio up, Gonzalez down, Wilk remains
The roster move to make room for Magglio Ordonez’s return was never really a question. The Tigers had an extra reliever in the bullpen that they didn’t need after getting out of Texas in fair shape. The reliever that was headed out, however, might have been a surprise.
Adam Wilk came up a week ago as a fill-in reliever once David Purcey went on paternity leave. It could’ve just been for a day. It might be a while now.
Though Enrique Gonzalez was a veteran long reliever who could warm up in a hurry and eat innings, the Tigers see a chance for Wilk to learn the ropes of relief up in the big leagues. Thus, the Tigers outrighted Gonzalez to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Ordonez, and kept Wilk up.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s here for the long haul. Brad Thomas will begin his Minor League rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday, and there’s nothing clear yet how that will shake out. But Wilk has an opportunity.
“He’s done OK,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s ideally probably a left-handed long guy, to break him in the right way. Probably not necessarily good for the team, but probably good for him. He’s an ideal left-handed long guy if you get behind early. It’s not because you don’t like him, but because that’s how he can get some experience with a little less pressure on him.”
Leyland noted that it’s the way they broke in Charlie Furbush. Now, Furbush has the opportunity for some other situations as a third lefty reliever behind David Purcey and Daniel Schlereth, who retired his first hitter and walked another in the eighth inning before Miguel Olivo homered off Joaquin Benoit’s first pitch.
“Left-handed relief pitchers cannot walk left-handed hitters,” Leyland said.
He said it was a general philosophy, rather than directed at anyone in particular. Still, it was clear what he meant.