May 6th, 2012
The Tigers won’t officially call up Doug Fister until tomorrow for his Monday night start in Seattle, but they got the return move out of the way before leaving Detroit. They optioned right-hander Brayan Villarreal to Triple-A Toledo, thus bringing their bullpen back to seven pitchers.
The fact that the Tigers sent out Villarreal instead of rookie right-hander Luke Putkonen is a little bit of a surprise, given that Putkonen has only one appearance since the Tigers purchased his contract over a week ago. But Villarreal’s lone appearance since his return was the April 27 loss to the Yankees in which the winning run got on and came around without a base hit. He retired his first batter, walked the next two, threw a wild pitch in between, and then threw three pitches out of the zone to Alex Rodriguez, the last of them being a passed ball. He threw just eight of his 19 pitches for strikes, and manager Jim Leyland noted afterwards that he needed to relax and get some confidence.