June 21st, 2012

Austin Wood retires from Tigers organization

Austin Wood, the lefty reliever made famous after throwing 169 pitches for the University of Texas during an NCAA tournament game in 2009, has retired, sources confirmed Thursday morning.

His decision comes three years after he achieved notoriety in college for his  12 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in the longest game in NCAA history, a 25-inning marathon that Texas won over Boston College in 7 hours, 3 minutes. The Tigers drafted in the fifth round of that year’s First-Year Player Draft a few weeks later.

Wood missed virtually the entire 2010 season with shoulder surgery, but came back to post a 5-5 record and 3.16 ERA in 50 appearances for at Double-A Erie, striking out 61 batters over 62 2/3 innings. He had similar success at Erie this year, but struggled in a few different stints at Triple-A Toledo, allowing 19 hits and 12 walks over 12 2/3 innings.

The 25-year-old told Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin after Wednesday night’s game and left the team. The move caught Tigers officials by surprise.

Avila activated from DL, Holaday optioned to Toledo

Gerald Laird’s hamstrings are fine this morning after he cramped up last night, so the Tigers optioned Bryan Holaday to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Alex Avila’s return from the 15-day disabled list.

Interestingly, Holaday will not replace Rob Brantly, who was promoted from Double-A Erie to fill the catching duties when Holaday was called up and Omir Santos declined an assignment back to Toledo. Instead, Holaday and Brantly will share catching duties, giving the Mud Hens a platoon of talented young catchers.

Raburn can now decline option to minor leagues

Wednesday was a very big milestone for Ryan Raburn, and another potential roster road block for the Tigers. If Detroit wants to option Raburn to Triple-A Toledo again, they’ll need his approval.

Credit WalkoffWoodward.com and Chris Iott of MLive.com for picking up on it last week. Based on the Major League calendar of service time, Raburn today achieves enough time to qualify for five Major League seasons. According to the collective bargaining agreement, he has the right to decline a minor-league option, even though the Tigers still have an option available to use on him.

What Raburn has is a different scenario than having his options used up. A player who’s out of options must pass through waivers before he’s outrighted to the minors, giving every other Major League club a shot at claiming him if they’re willing to keep him on their 25-man roster. If the Tigers tried to option Raburn and he declined it, he would stay with Detroit. he would become a free agent, free to sign with any club. Sorry for the mix-up. Just got a clarification from a baseball source.

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