Robertson’s comeback ends at Triple-A Toledo
Nate Robertson’s comeback as a sidearming reliever appears to be over, at least from the Tigers’ perspective, and most likely his own. The Tigers granted the 36-year-old left-hander his release on Saturday, about two months after signing him to a minor-league contract.
It’s a tough end to a career that brought Robertson onto the mound as a starting pitcher in the World Series back in 2006, then earned him a lucrative three-year contract a year later. After injuries and inconsistencies, he tried to make it back out of the bullpen, signing back his old club midway through Spring Training looking for a shot.
While his early numbers were encouraging, his struggles with command and his struggles to retire left-handed hitters proved to be a problem. He walked 13 batters over 21 innings at Triple-A Toledo, and lefty hitters batted .290 against him.
His inactivity in recent weeks was a bad sign. He pitched just twice in May, and hadn’t pitched in a week since walking three batters over 1 2/3 innings with two earned runs allowed against Rochester.
When Robertson talked about his comeback last month, he didn’t put an end date on it. However, he said this would most likely be his last stop.
“How is this going to end? To me, it’s going to end good no matter what,” he said. “This is exactly what I wanted to happen, and my family wanted to happen. I got a chance to be with what I think is the greatest organization in baseball, come back to a place that feels like home. And I know what’s on the table. I know what I’ve gotta do. A lot of things to clear, but just keep on getting those boys to roll over and give myself a chance. That’s all I can do, but have fun doing it. That’s the biggest thing.
“I want to make sure to have as much fun as I can, because if I can’t get back up, it’ll probably be it for me.”
Another Mud Hens reliever, Jhan Marinez, was also released. The 26-year-old right-hander signed as a minor-league free agent last offseason, but never showed the command he needed. He walked 21 batters with 21 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings, allowing 18 earned runs on 23 hits. He, too, had been knocked down the pecking order, with just two appearances over the last couple weeks.