Tigers calling up Moya from Toledo
The Tigers, victims of Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout performance Wednesday night, are about to get offensive reinforcements from the minors. Slugging outfield prospect Steven Moya is joining the team from Triple-A Toledo.
The Mud Hens announced the move on their twitter account prior to their game Thursday morning, with lefty reliever Blaine Hardy optioned to Toledo to make room. The Tigers have not made an announcement on their end. John Wagner of the Toledo Blade first reported the move.
The move restores the Tigers’ outfield and positional depth to normal after Detroit carried an extra reliever Wednesday night. But the 24-year-old Moya, Detroit’s 10th-ranked prospect by MLBPipeline.com, isn’t likely heading up to sit the bench.
The 6-foot-7 Moya, the Tigers’ best power-hitting prospect the last few years, has torn up Triple-A pitching this season, batting .310 (39-for-126) through Wednesday with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 24 RBIs and a .968 OPS. It’s a carryover from what he showed in Spring Training, when he hit for power to all fields and cut down on what had been a crippling strikeout rate.
Moya had been Toledo’s everyday right fielder until the last couple days, when Mud Hens manager Lloyd McClendon moved him to left to try to improve his versatility. That was around the same time that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said they were considering giving struggling left fielder Justin Upton a day off.
Moya’s promotion gives the Tigers a chance to sit Upton for a game or two to clear his head if they want. Though Upton ended an 0-for-19 slump with a double off the center-field wall against Scherzer in Washington Wednesday night, he’s batting .221 (29-for-131) while leading the Majors with 53 strikeouts in 33 games.
The Tigers open a four-game series in Baltimore Thursday night. Ubaldo Jimenez, the Orioles’ scheduled starter for the series opener, is giving up a .355 average (22-for-62) to left-handed hitters this season.