Farmer optioned to Toledo, Dolis to minor-league camp
The Tigers bullpen competition is down two more contestants. Granted, Buck Farmer and Rafael Dolis looked like they were on the outside looking in, especially in recent days. But the latest round of cuts from Tigers camp provides a little more clarity on the competition.
Farmer will go back to starting pitching duty, heading to Triple-A Toledo, where he made two starts late last season. He also made just two starts at Double-A Erie, giving rise to the thought that he might go back to the SeaWolves to get more seasoning. However, the Tigers are going to give him a push. That decision came from the front office, not from manager Brad Ausmus or his staff.
“We think he has a very bright future,” Ausmus said of the 24-year-old. “He’s quite a bit ahead of schedule, if you look at his career path.”
Farmer joins Kyle Lobstein, Drew VerHagen, Tim Melville and Thad Weber in a potential Mud Hens rotation. The bullpen has enough depth that some guys will either have to be dropped or sent back to Erie.
Dolis figures to head to the Hen pen. The 27-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs on nine hits over 8 1/3 innings with three walks and seven strikeouts, but showed power stuff.
“He actually has great stuff,” Ausmus said. “He has a lot of movement on his fastball. He throws in the mid-90s with a good split. We were really considering him for a while.”
With Farmer and Dolis out, the Tigers are down to 10 relievers in camp for a seven-man bullpen, including six right-handers for what will likely be five spots: Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Bruce Rondon, Joba Chamberlain and Angel Nesbitt. Nathan, Soria and Alburquerque are safe. Chamberlain should be, though he has struggled this spring. If Rondon is healthy and gets enough innings, he should be there, leaving Nesbitt as the odd man out.
Do the math, and that leaves four lefty relievers for two spots. Tom Gorzelanny, despite his spring, is believed to be in, leaving Ian Krol, Kyle Ryan and Blaine Hardy competing for the other role.