Tigers option Shane Greene to Toledo
Two months after Shane Greene seemed headed for the All-Star Game with a 3-0 record and one earned run over his first three starts, he’s now headed for Toledo. The Tigers optioned their young right-handed sinkerballer to Triple-A as he tries to work through the struggles that have hounded him for the past month.
The move, which makes room for lefty reliever Ian Krol’s call-up from Toledo, comes nearly eight weeks after Greene beat the White Sox at Comerica Park to improve to 3-0 in his first three starts as a Detroit Tiger. He had allowed one earned runs in 23 innings, the best three-start beginning to a season by a Tiger since 1945.
Greene now has the counterbalance. After five runs on seven hits over just three innings against the Cubs Wednesday night, Greene has allowed 16 earned runs on 21 hits over nine innings in his last three starts. That includes a five-homer, five-out start against the Angels two weeks ago, a first in modern Major League history.
“Pitchers are like hitters. They can go through ups and downs,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “They’re usually not as dramatic. It’s not unheard of for guys to pitch and struggle, or vice versa. Three outings does not make a season, 32 outings does, so I wouldn’t rush to judgment on anything.”
That said, the Tigers set a precedent with sending down young starters before. Max Scherzer was struggling in his first season as a Tiger in 2010, capped by a three-homer demise against the Red Sox in mid-May, when the Tigers optioned him to Triple-A Toledo to work things out. Scherzer made two starts for the Mud Hens, tossed 15 innings of one-run ball, struck out 14 Oakland Athletics over 5 2/3 innings in his return a couple weeks later, and never went back.
Greene’s spot in the rotation comes up again Tuesday night at Comerica Park against a Reds, a low-average, high-power club that boasts left-handed hitters in Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and former Tiger Brennan Boesch. With Greene down, left-hander Kyle Ryan – who pitched seven innings of two-run ball last Friday against the White Sox – appears likely to start in his place for now.
The Tigers will need to make another roster move after Friday’s game to make room for Justin Verlander’s return from the disabled list. That is expected to fall on a reliever, with young right-hander Angel Nesbitt a strong candidate.