July 18th, 2011
The Tigers have not announced their scheduled starter for Wednesday yet, but the scene at Triple-A Toledo Sunday night suggests they’ve made their choice. Charlie Furbush, who started Thursday’s game for the Mud Hens, made a surprise relief appearance Sunday night for the Hens in the sixth inning. As the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner reports on his Coop Scoop blog, Hens manager Phil Nevin said after the game that he pitched Furbush an inning in relief at the Tigers’ request.
Nevin also told The Blade that Fu-Ne Ni is now scheduled to start for the Mud Hens Tuesday in the spot that originally belonged to Furbush.
Considering Tigers officials are now saying Jacob Turner is unlikely to pitch in Detroit this season despite the Tigers moving him up two days in the rotation at Double-A Erie, to a spot that coincides with the open spot in Detroit’s rotation, all this Furbush speculation could still amount to nothing. Or, it could mean he got an extra inning of work for Furbush to keep him fresh before starting for the Tigers Wednesday night against Oakland on an extra day’s rest.
It might well be a spot start until the Tigers trade for another starter, as Dombrowski admitted he’s trying to do in an interview with Foxsports.com Sunday. But for now, the best guess is that it’s Furbush’s rotation spot. Put it this way: The Tigers wouldn’t request an inning of relief for Furbush if he was being pushed back a day to take Duane Below’s rotation spot in Toledo on Wednesday.
One more thought on Turner: If the Tigers are determined to add a veteran starter, then it makes sense to have him stay in the minors rather than take the spot. Yes, Justin Verlander made two spot starts in 2005 before cracking the rotation the next year, but he was older and neither start went well. One advantage Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello had when they made the Tigers rotation at age 20 was that they knew they had the patience of the organization on their side. If they blew up in a start, they’d be back out there in five days or so. This isn’t a luxury the Tigers have now, and having Turner reading the rumor mill while he’s trying to read scouting reports makes no sense for anyone. He probably has better stuff than anyone the Tigers can acquire, unless they pull off a deal for Ubaldo Jimenez, but it doesn’t matter unless there’s patience.