Tigers re-acquire Zach Miner from Royals (updated)
A year and a half after the Tigers parted ways with starter/reliever Zach Miner, he’s back in the organization. Detroit re-acquired the now 30-year-old right-hander from Kansas City in exchange for cash.
Miner will report this weekend to Double-A Erie, where the Tigers were in need of pitching help.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star first reported the trade Friday morning. The Tigers later confirmed the deal.
“I’m very excited to be coming back,” Miner wrote Friday in an email to MLB.com. “Regardless of what level I’ll be pitching at, the opportunity to prove I’m healthy and ready to be a big league pitcher again is all I can really ask for.”
Miner is best known among Tigers fans for his surprising performance in Detroit’s rotation in the summer of 2006, filling in for injured Mike Maroth. He became a swing starter/reliever for the Tigers, mainly in the big leagues, for the next three years, including one spot start on May 17, 2007, when he flew from Toledo to Boston on short notice early in the morning and made an emergency start at Fenway Park that day when Maroth was seriously ill.
Miner hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2009. He was expected to be part of Detroit’s bullpen in 2010 before what appeared to be a minor arm injury in spring training turned out to be a torn elbow ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery.
Miner signed a minor-league contract with Kansas City after the 2010 season, hoping for his best shot at getting back to the Majors. He split last year between Double-A Northwest Arkansas as a starter (1-6, 7.16 in 11 starts) and Triple-A Omaha as a reliever (2-1, 1.59 in 12 games).
Miner has yet to pitch in a game this season. He reportedly had a clause in his contract that would allow him to become a free agent if he’s not on a 25-man Major League roster by May 15, according to the Kansas City Star.
“My hope is to make it a non issue and earn may way back to Detroit,” Miner responded, “because there really is nowhere else I’d want to play right now.”
While pitching at Double-A isn’t the ideal destination for Miner at this point in his career, it’s where the Tigers desperately need help. The SeaWolves entered Friday ranked next-to-last in the Eastern League with a 5.05 ERA, including a league high of 60 walks over 114 innings. They’ve used 15 pitchers already.