Berry up, Balester DFA’ed, A-Jax in limbo
Austin Jackson, who was tentatively written into the Tigers lineup Tuesday afternoon, can’t swing at game intensity without feeling pain around his abdominal strain yet.
Don Kelly, though playing well in center field, isn’t really a center fielder.
The Tigers pitching staff is back to full strength with closer Jose Valverde back healthy.
Detroit has been going a position player short to have seven available relievers while Valverde was sidelined.
Collin Balester hadn’t pitched in a game since last Thursday. And when the Tigers had fallen behind Tuesday, they went to Duane Below and Luke Putkonen instead.
Put the pieces together, and you have a roster move.
As long as the Tigers have the room to add a position player, they figured they’d bring up a center fielder to fill in for Jackson for however long he’s out. Thus, they purchased the contract of speedster Quintin Berry, who made an impression in spring training and has stolen 19 bases already at Triple-A Toledo.
How long is Jackson out, you ask? Well, he’s pretty much out for Wednesday night. After that, it’s uncertain, but he’s clearly going to have to make some progress to get back into game action in the next few days.
“We can take this opportunity to try to buy a little more time, but not a whole lot more, to be honest with you,” Jim Leyland said of the Berry move. “We thought we could buy a couple more days with Austin, but right now, as we speak, it doesn’t look particularly good.”
How much time might come down to Ryan Raburn’s return. Leyland said earlier Tuesday that Raburn will be back on Friday, the first day he’s eligible to return from MLB’s Bereavement List. To do that, the Tigers will have to open up a roster spot. They could send back Danny Worth to Triple-A Toledo. But if Jackson isn’t ready by then, they could put him on the 15-day disabled list, backdate the move eight days to his original injury last Wednesday, and then potentially just lose him for another week.
The extra pitcher to go is Collin Balester, who actually opened the season on the team but has largely struggled to find a role in the long end of the bullpen. He went 10 days between pitching in late April and early May, then gave up six runs in four May outings.