Putkonen optioned to make room for Smyly
Though Drew Smyly is filling in for Doug Fister in the Tigers rotation on Saturday, Fister is not on the disabled list, so Detroit had to find another way to create a roster spot for him. Not surprisingly, that came from the long end of the bullpen.
Luke Putkonen, who replaced Duane Below as Detroit’s long reliever last week, is headed back to Triple-A Toledo, optioned to open a spot for the Tigers to recall Smyly. It leaves the Tigers short in the bullpen behind a starter who hasn’t gotten through the fifth inning since his last Detroit start on July 6 (though pitch counts and an ejection for hitting Will Rhymes played into that), but they’ll have Darin Downs available to eat innings if need be.
The Tigers can bring their bullpen back to full strength if they want by optioning Smyly back to Triple-A Toledo after the game and recalling Below, even though they don’t know for sure yet whether Fister will be ready to start when his spot comes up next Saturday. If he isn’t ready by then, though, they can put Fister on the DL and then recall Smyly (normally teams have to wait 10 days after sending down a player before they can call him back up, but there’s an exception when he’s replacing somebody who just got put on the DL).
Long story short, don’t be surprising if there’s some maneuvering in the coming days even before rosters expand next Saturday).
Putkonen pitched in one game after his recall, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings with two walks and a strikeout last Sunday against the Orioles.