Worth, Raburn, Kelly, Holaday, Marte heading up
As first reported by John Wagner from the Toledo Blade and later announced by the team, the Tigers are adding utility players Danny Worth, Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly, reliever Luis Marte and catcher Bryan Holaday as September call-ups with rosters expanding.
Al Alburquerque will be called up on Sunday, the first day he’s eligible to be recalled from Toledo (he has to spend 10 days in the minors after being optioned last week). The Tigers announced that part on Friday.
Kelly, who was outrighted to Toledo last month, will take the 40-man roster spot of Jeff Baker, who was designated for assignment on Friday to create a 25-man roster spot for Avisail Garcia to be called up on Friday.
The 40-man roster spot is now full, and Nick Castellanos isn’t on it. So unless the Tigers designate somebody else, Castellanos, All-Star Futures Game MVP in July but a .193 hitter in August, is not getting called up.
Holaday and Worth were locks to come up, given manager Jim Leyland’s preference to add a third catcher and an extra infielder every September. Both were Tigers earlier this season, including five trips up and down for Worth.
Technically, Raburn isn’t a call-up. He’s being activated from the 15-day disabled list. He had been in Toledo on rehab assignment and batted 9-for-29 (.310) with three home runs and nine RBIs. The question now is whether he can translate that to the big leagues, something he hasn’t done in his previous stops this year other than a couple hot stretches.
Raburn said Wednesday that he hasn’t done anything different with his swing or his approach since going out on rehab; it’s more a matter of being healthy and seeing pitches better. His sprained right thumb also isn’t a problem.
By adding Raburn, Leyland gets the right-handed hitting outfielder he wanted to avoid having to hit a lefty against a left-handed pitcher. Whether that means Raburn will be hitting tonight against Francisco Liriano (he’s 5-for-20 with a home run and four strikeouts off him) or Chris Sale (2-for-8 with a homer) remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Kelly adds another versatile position player, though it remains to be seen how he’ll be used if Garcia is going to be a defensive replacement in the outfield. He batted .233 (17-for-73) in 20 games with the Hens.
Marte showed flashes of effectiveness at the deep end of the Tigers bullpen from the end of May through mid-July. The right-hander allowed seven runs on 16 hits over 17 1/3 innings, with seven walks and 14 strikeouts. Three rough outings — a bad setup appearance June 10 at Cincinnati, a two-homer 10th inning June 15 against the Rockies, and a four-walk performance July 2 against the Twins — accounted for the bulk of the damage.
If that’s the extent of the call-ups, then the Tigers will stick with three left-handers in their bullpen — Phil Coke, Darin Downs and Drew Smyly. Daniel Schlereth, who has spent the past four weeks on rehab assignment, the last week or two in Toledo, will not be back. While he’s pitching healthy, his velocity has not entirely returned after spending most of the summer working his way back from left shoulder tendinitis. Duane Below has been part of the rotation since joining Toledo in mid-August, but has nine walks in 11 innings over three starts.