Kyle Ryan called up, Ian Krol optioned

Ian Krol’s four-run, four-hit eighth inning Sunday led to a change in the Tigers bullpen. Kyle Ryan has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo, presumably to fill a relief sport, and Krol has been optioned back to the Mud Hens.

It’s the third time Krol has been optioned out this season after making the Opening Day roster. He seemingly had found his footing in July, but had struggled lately to finish off hitters, from a July 31 outing at Baltimore to yesterday. Tom Gorzelanny’s return Sunday wasn’t a good sign for Krol’s role.

Ryan made two starts since rejoining Toledo, most recently eight shutout innings on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts last Thursday. He, too, has been bouncing back and forth this season, now up for the third time.

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

The righty-heavy lineup (save for Anthony Gose) gets the call against big Red Sox lefty Henry Owens in his second Major League start.

On the Red Sox side, Pablo Sandoval gets the day off, denying him a final chance at Justin Verlander this season. He went 0-for-3 against Verlander in Boston last month in their first meeting since his memorable game in the 2012 World Series.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigers1927logoTIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, LF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jefry Marte, 1B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF

P: Justin Verlander

oldredsoxlogoRED SOX (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Brock Holt, 3B (1-for-4)
  2. Rusney Castillo, RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (1-for-3, K)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (10-for-29, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 4 walks, 8 K’s)
  5. Travis Shaw, 1B
  6. Alejandro De Aza, LF (9-for-37, double, triple, 2 HR, 2 walks, 10 K’s)
  7. Blake Swihart, C
  8. Josh Rutledge, 2B (1-for-3, double)
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

P: Henry Owens

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

Rajai Davis and Jefry Marte return to the lineup against Red Sox lefty Wade Miley, who’s allowing a .269 average and .785 OPS against right-handed batters (compared with .235 and .639 versus lefties). And yes, all of the players involved in last night’s dugout run-in are in the lineup.

Unless something drastically changes, Alfredo Simon is expected to make the start tonight, even if he’s at less than 100 percent strength with the groin injury. It’s worth following because Buck Farmer’s 2 2/3 innings of work Friday night leave the Tigers missing their designated long reliever. If Simon has a quick exit, the probable answer would be Blaine Hardy. New closer Alex Wilson’s availability as a long reliever is likely out for now.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Miley)

  1. Rajai Davis, LF (1-for-2, HR, K)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-3)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-2, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jefry Marte, 1B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF

P: Alfredo Simon

redsoxlogoRED SOX (career numbers against Simon)

  1. Brock Holt, 2B (1-for-4, double)
  2. Rusney Castillo, RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (2-for-8, double, 4 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. Hanley Ramirez, LF (3-for-6)
  6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (1-for-6, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  7. Travis Shaw, 1B
  8. Blake Swihart, C (1-for-2, triple)
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

P: Wade Miley

David Chadd, John Westhoff named assistant GMs under Avila

When Al Avila succeeded Dave Dombrowski as Tigers general manager, he said he believed that the assistants he wanted to stick around would stay. On Friday, he made his moves to do so, promoting David Chadd to assistant GM among a handful of front-office promotions.

John Westhoff, previously vice president and baseball legal counsel, added assistant GM to his titles along with general counsel. Scott Bream was promoted from director of pro scouting to vice president of player personnel. Sam Menzin is the new baseball operations director.

Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Jim Leyland and Trammell are all being retained as special assistants.

“It’s in the best interest of the baseball operations department that we maintain continuity,” Avila said in a statement. “This is a talented and committed group to our organization, and we believe these changes in responsibilities will further enhance our efforts moving forward.”

Chadd, hired by Dombrowski a decade ago as amateur scouting director, has taken on more responsibility over the years from drafting to scouting to player evaluation and development. He spent the past few years as vice president of amateur scouting as well as a special assistant.

Westhoff’s Tiger tenure dates back to Dombrowski’s arrival in 2002. He has served as the team’s legal authority and chief negotiator on contract negotiations and arbitration filings, as well as administrative matters. In so doing, he has worked closely with Avila.

Westhoff also worked closely with Mike Smith, who had served as Tigers director of baseball operations until he left last week to work in community development in Detroit. Menzin, who joined the Tigers four years ago on an internship and bolstered the organization’s statistical analysis, takes the baseball operations post.

Bream became a valued member of Dombrowski’s staff over nine seasons as a Major League scout, then returned as pro scouting director three years ago following two seasons in the San Diego Padres front office.

Scott Reid has been serving as vice president of player personnel, working alongside Bream. Reid’s situation wasn’t announced, but Avila said in an email that he’s still working on the rest of the front-office posts.

The moves quiet speculation on which assistants could follow Dombrowski to his next position, wherever that may be. Dombrowski, for his part, told MLB.com on Wednesday that he expected most if not all of his assistants and advisors to stay with Avila, and that he could hire from elsewhere to build a group of assistants if the opportunity arises.

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

Not many matchup numbers on either side. The Tigers go with Tyler Collins in left field and Alex Avila at first base, keeping James McCann behind the plate for Norris again.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Joe Kelly)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-2, K)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Tyler Collins, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, 1B
  9. James McCann, C

P: Daniel Norris

bostonlogoRED SOX (career numbers against Norris)

  1. Brock Holt, 2B
  2. Rusney Castillo, RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  4. David Ortiz, DH (0-for-1, K)
  5. Hanley Ramirez, LF
  6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (late change; Napoli scratched)
  7. Travis Shaw, 1B
  8. Ryan Hanigan, C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

P: Joe Kelly

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Royals

Alex Avila gets his first start behind the plate since July 27 (two starts ago for Anibal Sanchez) as the Tigers put together a lefty-balanced lineup for Yordano Ventura. Andrew Romine shifts over to first base, while Tyler Collins gets the start in left.

Gameday | TV: MLB Network, FSD, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS (career numbers against Ventura)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-2, walk, K)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-6, double)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (2-for-5, walk, K)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (2-for-5, double, walk, K)
  6. Tyler Collins, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-7, K)
  8. Alex Avila, C (0-for-3, walk, 2 K’s)
  9. Andrew Romine, 1B (1-for-3, K)

P: Anibal Sanchez

royalsbigrlogoROYALS (career numbers off Sanchez)

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS (8-for-25, HR, 4 K’s)
  2. Ben Zobrist, LF (3-for-19, 3 walks, K)
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF (4-for-20)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (8-for-29, 3 doubles, 2 K’s)
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH (3-for-12, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B (3-for-18, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  7. Alex Rios, RF (2-for-11, double, walk, 4 K’s)
  8. Omar Infante, 2B (6-for-30, walk, 3 K’s)
  9. Drew Butera, C (0-for-2)

P: Yordano Ventura

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Royals

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Johnny Cueto)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-3)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-2)
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-3, double, walk)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-6, walk, 2 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-4, walk)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-2)
  7. Tyler Collins, LF
  8. Jefry Marte, 1B
  9. James McCann, C (0-for-1, walk, K)

P: Matt Boyd

royalslogonotextROYALS

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS
  2. Ben Zobrist, LF
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  7. Salvador Perez, C
  8. Alex Rios, RF
  9. Omar Infante, 2B

P: Johnny Cueto

Dombrowski: No contract disagreement, just an ownership decision

Just got off the phone with Dave Dombrowski, who’s apparently doing interviews individually after yesterday’s move by the Tigers to part ways with him. He shed some light on how things unfolded, what led up to the move and what’s next.

For starters, he said, there wasn’t a dispute over contract terms, nor was there ultimatum on his part to clear up his status. He said there weren’t any talk about a new contract or his status until he got a call from owner Mike Ilitch on Tuesday to let him go.

“It’s pretty simple,” Dombrowski said. “Mike Ilitch let me know yesterday they were going with a different leadership direction.”

The longer his situation went unresolved, he said, the more he suspected that would be the case. Still, he said, when he made last week’s trades of David Price, Joakim Soria and Yoenis Cespedes for prospects, he did so without any idea whether he would be around to see the results.

“I didn’t make [the deals] with any expectations other than I felt it was the best thing for the organization,” he said. “My feeling in my heart was that we were not going to win a championship.”

If he knew then that this was coming, he said, he would not change a thing.

“I will always hold my head high,” he said, “that every day I did what I felt was best for the organization.”

Thus ended what turned out to be his final chance to win a World Series title for Ilitch, which will end up his biggest regret of his tenure. At the same time, he said, he leaves with plenty of memories from an organizational turnaround that saw the Tigers rise from doormat to perennial contender.

“Fourteen years is a long time,” he said, “and when you look back, there’s a lot of great memories. We started out with tough times … but we were very successful. I enjoyed my time here.”

As for the fact that his longtime top assistant, Al Avila, replaced him, Dombrowski said he’s happy that he’s getting his shot.

“I’m very happy for Al,” Dombrowski said. “He’s been very loyal. If it’s not going to be me, I’m happy it’s him.”

Dombrowski downplayed speculation that he could take assistants with him to his next stop, noting that the group of assistants he has kept together over the years has worked well together and should continue to do so under Avila. He knows a lot of people in the game, and can build a new front-office group.

On that note, he said, he does not have anything lined up, but he wants to stay involved in the game, preferably at the club level. He’s willing to take time off if the right opportunity doesn’t come up, but sounded like he’d prefer to get back to work sooner rather than later.

“I’m sure I’ll be back somewhere,” he said. “I’m not sure when that’ll be.”

The abrupt end of the Dombrowski era

The biggest signing of the Dave Dombrowski era, Prince Fielder’s arrival as a free agent, took a week to officially announce. Adam Everett once agreed to a deal during the winter meetings that didn’t get announced until closer to the holidays.

That was Dave Dombrowski’s way sometimes, maddeningly thorough, hesitant to rush. And yet, the end of the Dombrowski era in Detroit went down in a half-hour clubhouse meeting, a quick yet detailed press release and a hastily arranged press conference that included neither Dombrowski (Randy Smith had a press conference after he was fired in 2002) nor anyone from the ownership family that made the move.

“I assure you,” Dombrowski said last Friday after the Yoenis Cespedes trade, “that our goal going into next year will be to try to win a world championship.”

Less than 24 hours later, supposedly, Al Avila was offered the GM job.

“On my way home [owner Mike Ilitch] called me,” Avila said, “and he offered me the job on Saturday afternoon. So I did know on Saturday. Obviously he asked me to wait, that he was going to make this announcement.”

The move came on the heels of franchise-shaping trades that Dombrowski put together and ownership approved. The David Price trade would’ve been done late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, but Dombrowski waited until Friday morning to get the OK.

And yet, here we are. A team that went through a relative shock with the decision to trade Cespedes, David Price and Joakim Soria now deals with the departure of the general manager who made the deals, even though Avila was part of the trade discussions too.

“I was in the clubhouse with everybody else going through a normal routine, and all of a sudden it was like shutdown in here for a little while,” Alex Avila said. “I found out with everybody else in here when he came in here to let everybody know.”

The rumors about Dombrowski’s future were as rampant as David Price rumors among scouts and executives in the days leading up to the trade deadline — Toronto, Anaheim, Boston, eventually Seattle. But the strong belief was that he wouldn’t undertake a rebuild, or a retool, or a reboot, that he knew he wouldn’t be a part of.

“If he’s selling,” one evaluator who worked with Dombrowski for years said, “he’s staying.”

With neither Dombrowski nor Ilitch talking publicly yet beyond the press release, we’re left to speculate what brought this, whether Ilitch felt Dombrowski had to atone for the moves that turned the Tigers into sellers this morning, or if there was a disagreement on salary, or if Dombrowski decided to end the wait and force a decision now to either resign him or let him look for his next job now instead of serving out his deal as a lame-duck GM.

Keep this in mind as you ponder that: The only change in the organization was the guy at the top. His front office, his core advisors behind his decisions, at least for now, remain in place. His longtime assistant took over with a longer contract (five years, reportedly) than the man he replaced (Dombrowski signed a four-year extension late in 2011). Does that sound like a clean-cut firing to you?

“The only conversation I had with Dave,” Al Avila said, “was basically, when he left, we said our goodbyes. Obviously, we’re still great friends. Really, I don’t know the how, the why. Mr. Ilitch made the decision. It’s really a question more for him, but that’s something I really had nothing to do with.”

Dombrowski out, Avila in as Tigers general manager

The Tigers and president/CEO Dave Dombrowski parted ways Tuesday, ending a 14-year tenure that saw the Tigers rise from the worst season in American League history to two World Series appearances and four straight division titles.

Al Avila, Dombrowski’s top assistant since 2002, was named general manager and president of baseball operations, reporting directly to owner Mike Ilitch. He’ll handle all responsibilities related to baseball operations, while executive vice president of business operations will assume all operations on the business side.

The team announced the split in a press release Tuesday afternoon, with Ilitch directly quoted but not Dombrowski.

“I would like to thank Dave Dombrowski for his 14 years of service,” Ilitch said in the statement. “Together we’ve enjoyed some success, but we’re still in aggressive pursuit of our ultimate goal: to bring a World Series title to Detroit and Michigan.  I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.  I feel this is the right time for the Tigers to move forward under new leadership.”

The release followed a lengthy clubhouse meeting before batting practice. Dombrowski was seen walking out of the clubhouse with bags. Avila and other Tigers assistants went in.

“I just want to say I’m very excited for this opportunity and honored and grateful to Mr. Ilitch for having the faith and trust in me to run this ballclub in our continuing effort in a pursuit of a World Series championship,” Avila said in a press conference. “And after 24 years in professional baseball and going on 14 years with the Detroit Tigers, I believe I am uniquely qualified to be successful in this role leading the organization. We’re confident we can make a strong push this year and that we have the foundation in place to win next year and for years to come.”

Ilitch hired Dombrowski just after the 2001 season as president and CEO. He took over general manager duties six games into the 2002 season, replacing Randy Smith, and undersaw a rebuild that saw the Tigers turn to younger players in search of talent. After an AL-record 119-loss season in 2003, Dombrowski and Ilitch began rebuilding the team with trades and free-agent signings, from Carlos Guillen and Ivan Rodriguez in 2004 to Magglio Ordonez and Kenny Rogers soon after, along with top draft pick Justin Verlander.

Once Dombrowski hired Jim Leyland as manager, the build-up got a jump start. The Tigers not only posted their first winning season since 1993, they won their first American League pennant since 1984, advancing to the World Series before falling to the Cardinals.

From that point on, the Tigers became perennial contenders, with the exception of a last-place finish in 2008. The Tigers finished second to Cleveland in 2007, lost a division tiebreaker to Minnesota in 2009, then finished .500 with a younger roster in 2010.

All the while, Dombrowski showed the flexibility to adjust the roster as situations changed. He traded for Miguel Cabrera after the 2007 season, giving Ilitch the superstar draw he’d long coveted, then traded away popular All-Star center fielder Curtis Granderson two years later to bring in young talent and retool the roster.

The return from the latter, including Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson, helped set up the Tigers’ four-year reign atop the American League Central. Scherzer and Verlander formed the basis of a dominant starting rotation that overpowered the rest of the division, with trade acquisitions Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez mixed in.

All that was missing on the resume was a World Series title. The Tigers went back to the Fall Classic in 2012 with Cabrera and Prince Fielder a power-hitting duo in the lineup, but were swept out by the Giants. They added Torii Hunter a year later and made it to the ALCS, but dropped a heartbreaking series to the Red Sox that included two go-ahead home runs at Fenway Park.

Dombrowski got creative to keep adding players and leaving the window of contention, swooping in to acquire David Price when few expected a fit, then sending Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler. But Detroit was swept out of the AL Division Series by Baltimore last year, and fell out of the division race this season, leading to Dombrowski trading Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria for prospects a few days.

The day after the Trade Deadline, Avila was offered the job.

“The main focus,” Avila said of Ilitch’s message, “was, ‘I’m committed to win. I want you to take this job and I want you to run with it. And make sure you know the foot is on the pedal, hard.”

Ilitch remains committed to doing whatever he can to try to pursue a World Series, Avila said. In fact, other than the man at the top, very little changes immediately, either in goals or personnel. The same core group that Dombrowski is the group Avila trusts, though he noted some will likely leave to join Dombrowski wherever he lands.

“I have the utmost belief that the guys that I want to stay will stay,” Avila said.

As for manager Brad Ausmus, Avila said he’ll remain manager for the rest of the season.

“He’s done a good job,” Avila said. “Just like everything else from here on out, everything will be evaulated. And we’ll make decisions moving forward.”

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