November 4th, 2011

Tigers sign Darin Downs to minor-league deal

The Tigers have signed free-agent lefty Darin Downs to a minor league contract, according to a tweet from his agents at Sosnick Cobbe Sports.

It’s not a headline deal by any means, but it’s the kind of depth signing that sometimes pay dividends. Downs, who turns 27 the day after Christmas, is pitching winter ball in Venezuela right now after spending the summer in the Marlins farm system at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. His pitching coach with the Tigres de Aragua is Greg Sabat, who coaches in the Tigers system.

Combine Downs’ Double- and Triple-A numbers, and he went 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA over 18 starts and 14 relief appearances, striking out 87 batters over 112 innings. Until then, he had just about an even ratio of strikeouts to innings pitched for his pro career, getting swings and misses with finesse and deception rather than power.

Downs was born in nearby Southfield, but went to high school in Florida.