Tigers release Wells, Duran from Double-A Erie
Casper Wells’ reunion with the Tigers organization met a sudden end Friday. So did left-hander Omar Duran’s attempt to follow Al Alburquerque’s path through the system. The Tigers released them both after disappointing starts as part of a roster shakeup at Double-A Erie.
The SeaWolves entered Friday at 6-13, the second-worst record in the Eastern League. That trajectory wasn’t going to sit well with new ownership in Erie. Thus, with the opening month now over, the changes came fast.
Wells, a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2005 who was traded to Seattle for Doug Fister in 2011, signed a minor-league deal Feb. 17 to return to the Tigers after bouncing around organizations and indy ball the past couple years. He returned to Erie, where he hit 32 home runs over 161 games in 2008 and 2009, but went 9-for-43 with one homer and 17 strikeouts.
The 25-year-old Duran spent Spring Training in big-league camp, having signed a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite after spending six-plus seasons in Oakland’s farm system. Despite more than 275 innings as an A’s farmhand, he had just 14 1/3 innings above A-ball, and his start at Erie seemed to show why. He gave up nine runs, eight earned, on 10 hits over 8 1/3 innings with four walks and 10 strikeouts. He had four scoreless outings, two of them perfect, and three with multiple runs allowed.
Wells’ release cleared room for slugger Dean Green to return from the disabled list. Duran gives way to former Tiger Ryan Perry, who was activated from the DL after spending April shelved with soreness. Perry signed a minor-league deal with Detroit Feb. 24.
The Tigers also promoted right-handed reliever Zac Reininger and lefty Joe Rogers to Erie following strong opening months at Class A Lakeland. Brennan Smith and Slade Smith were optioned to Lakeland to make room.