Results tagged ‘ Adam Wilk ’

Smyly pulled after an inning for Toledo

Jacob Turner filled the role of Mud Hens starter on call for most of the summer until the Tigers traded him to Florida last month. Adam Wilk did it early this season. Andy Oliver did it for nearly two years. Even Casey Crosby got a shot earlier this season.

Now, is Drew Smyly the next in line?

With Doug Fister questionable for his next scheduled start with a right adductor strain, and Smyly’s start Tuesday night for Triple-A Toledo lasting only one inning, you have to wonder.

It wasn’t a bad inning for Smyly, 13 pitches with no hits, a walk and a strikeout. There were no reports of injury coming out of his start on the road at Lehigh Valley. What it does is keep Smyly’s arm fresh in case the Tigers need him to come back on three days’ rest and start in Doug Fister’s place Saturday against the Angels.

The Mud Hens were rained out in Lehigh Valley on Monday, so there’s no one completely on turn. The only other clear option would be Wilk, who started for Toledo on Sunday and has ample experience with the big club. One problem with Wilk is that the Mud Hens will most likely need him on Friday, and the Tigers might not be sure whether Fister can go by then.

One catch with Smyly, though, is that he hasn’t pitched deep into games since joining the Hens at the end of July. He hasn’t gotten through five innings in any of his five starts since the Tigers optioned him, and his 4 2/3 innings last week marked his first time getting through the fourth.

Fister dealing with groin injury, next start iffy

When Jim Leyland was asked today if he has ever had a team with as many rotation injuries as what the Blue Jays have dealt with, his answer eventually drifted to his own team. That might have been a pretty good hint that something wasn’t right.

Then Leyland updated the situation on Doug Fister, who is dealing with what Leyland called a “groin issue.”

It’s a big enough issue that neither Leyland nor Fister is certain he’ll make his next scheduled start on Saturday.

“We’re taking it day by day,” Fister said.

The tightness was a problem on Fister’s warmup pitches before his opening inning Sunday against Baltimore, but he was able to pitch through it without making it any worse.

“I felt it a little bit early on,” Fister said. “It ended up feeling tight afterwards.”

What happens if Fister can’t go isn’t clear. Triple-A Toledo was rained out Monday night, so the only pitcher who’s close to being on turn for Saturday is Adam Wilk, who started for the Mud Hens on Sunday. Drew Smyly last pitched last Friday, and he hasn’t pitched through the fifth inning since he started pitching again near the end of July.

Wilk hit by foul ball, leaves game

What had been a strong first Major League start for Tigers left-hander Adam Wilk Saturday against the White Sox ended in freak fashion when he was hit by a foul ball into the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field.

Wilk suffered a bruised left shoulder, the Tigers announced moments later. Because the contusion came in a muscular area, Wilk is expected to make his next scheduled start Thursday against the Rangers at Comerica Park.

The ball was a sharp liner off the bat of Prince Fielder, who was trying to give Wilk some much-needed run support with a runner on second in the top of the sixth inning and the Tigers trailing, 2-0.

Replays suggested Wilk was hit in his left shoulder. He was shown wincing in pain and holding his shoulder soon after as he was walking into the clubhouse with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.

Wilk was the man primarily responsible for the Tigers having a chance at that point. While Gavin Floyd had held the Tigers scoreless at that point on three hits, all of them from Austin Jackson, Wilk had allowed just three hits through five innings. Two of them were solo homers from Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers.

As Wilk was heading into the clubhouse for treatment, pitching coach Jeff Jones was on the phone to the Tigers bullpen, where Collin Balester began warming up in a hurry. Balester began the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back doubles to Brent Morel and Adam Dunn for a White Sox insurance run.

Wilk was making the start as an injury replacement for Doug Fister, who left his start last weekend with a strained rib cage muscle on his left side and went onto the 15-day disabled list.

Crosby struggles in Hens loss

Casey Crosby’s would-be audition for the Tigers rotation fill-in role apparently looked like a kid making his Triple-A debut, which he was. The big left-hander showed his potential, striking out four of his first six batters and fanning six over four innings against just two walks, the six runs and five hits he allowed in the process sent the Hens to defeat and likely sent Jim Leyland (who was in attendance) into serious thought on how he’ll fill Doug Fister’s rotation spot coming up later this week.

Crosby spent all of last season at Double-A Erie, his first full, healthy season since coming off a spat of injuries that slowed his career since he was a highly-regarded draft pick in 2007. He made an impression in Tigers camp this spring, and Leyland said over the weekend in response to questions about the rotation that he would be heading to Fifth Third Field to watch Crosby. Other Tigers officials had watch fellow Hens lefty Andy Oliver struggle with walks on Sunday night.

Crosby didn’t struggle with walks, but he gave up early damage — a leadoff triple and two-run double in the first inning, then a tape-measure home run to Denis Phipps following an Argenis Diaz error.

So at some point very shortly, Leyland and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski have to decide how to approach this rotation spot for the next couple weeks. Duane Below would still seem to be an option despite pitching back-to-back days over the weekend (hey, he does lead the Majors in wins at the moment). Adam Wilk still stands as the most effective Mud Hens starter out of the gate with five scoreless innings on one hit to go with six strikeouts last Friday.

Dombrowski rules out Oswalt, rules in Smyly

You might have read on the blog yesterday the quote from Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski saying they’re only likely to go for a non-roster invite if they do add a pitcher to compete for the open rotation. He pretty much repeated that Friday to MLB Network Radio, ruling themselves out of the Roy Oswalt hunt.

“I don’t think we’ll get Roy Oswalt, no,” Dombrowski told host Jim Bowden. “I don’t think that’s a potential. But I do think that we have other guys internally, guys that don’t get much attention at this point, but guys that could fill a fifth starter spot.”

That wasn’t really a surprise, since reportedly Oswalt spurned any interest from the Tigers earlier.’s Jon Heyman reported late Friday night that the Tigers offered Oswalt a one-year, $10 million contract well before they moved aggressively to sign Prince Fielder. Oswalt rejected the offer, even though it supposedly met the agent’s asking price.

Dombrowski again sounded like someone leaning towards letting his organizational products compete for the fifth spot. He gave an extra plug, however, to left-hander Drew Smyly, who won Tigers minor league pitcher of the year honors in his first pro season.

“He was a second-round pick for us a couple years ago,” Dombrowski said, “and a lot of people think that he’s ready to pitch here right now. We’ll see. He pitched very well last year, and also pitched well internationally this wintertime [at the Pan Am Games]. He was the top pitcher on the team there.”

Dombrowski also mentioned Adam Wilk and Duane Below as options if Jacob Turner doesn’t get the job, which was the question Bowden asked.

“Those are the possibilities,” Dombrowski said, “and I also wouldn’t discount signing someone that is a non-roster invitee and bringing him to camp and seeing if they can challenge for it.

What’s left? Pitching invites, maybe Cespedes?

Here’s the deal: Whatever follows this first paragraph, take it with a grain of salt. As we saw on the Prince Fielder thing, plans change around these parts.

That said, the Tigers don’t sound like they have another major move in store.

Positionally, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said they’re pretty well set. Yes, there’s still some free agent DH/outfielder types, but if the Tigers added somebody there, they’d essentially be locking themselves into Miguel Cabrera as a third baseman before seeing how he handles the position in spring training.

But there’s a big-name hitter still out there who has been connected with Tigers interest since November. When Dombrowski was asked about Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, he crafted his response to allow some leeway should somebody above his pay grade decide he’s worth pursuing.

“I don’t want to say on that,” Dombrowski said. “Most likely [they’re out], but you never can tell.”

Not lately, no.

Their outlook on pitching sounds a little more secure. Though the Tigers reportedly went after Roy Oswalt earlier, Dombrowski gave a pretty strong indication that they’re not looking for that kind of deal anymore. They’re still looking for veteran pitching, but Dombrowski is now downplaying expectations to the level of non-roster invitees. The 40-man roster is full, though they’ll open a spot by Opening Day by placing Victor Martinez on the 60-day disabled list.

Martinez, by the way, was scheduled to have a second opinion on his left knee Thursday afternoon from Dr. Richard Steadman. No news was available as of Thursday night, but the Tigers are expecting to hear he’ll need surgery for a torn ACL.

That would open up a roster spot for a non-roster pitcher who comes to camp. At this point, though, Dombrowski sounds more open than ever to having one of his young pitcher take the fifth starter job, especially if he’s going to get an uptick in run support.

“We’re having some conversations with a few guys,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t know if it’ll happen for not. But I don’t want it sound like we’re signing some guy to a long-term contract, or even in a position to be giving a big one-year deal. We’re talking more [to] bring a guy into camp, and if our youngsters don’t make it, then we can maybe lean on that guy to do it.”

The added run support the Tigers can expect from this offense gives them some leeway.

“You’re trying to win, and I think you can do that,” Dombrowski said. “But we have four veteran starters, a better offense. So it’s conducive to breaking that [young] guy in there if you can. At some point, you’re trying to break young guys in, because you want a guy or two to break in on a yearly basis somewhere. I know people write about payroll and I know we have a high payroll, but even the Yankees try to break young guys in, because you need to have somebody making lesser salaries. … It’s important, and I think it’s a good place to do it for us. But I don’t want to feed somebody to the wolves if they go to spring training and then they don’t look like they can handle it. That’s why you’re trying to protect yourself if you can.”

I said this on twitter earlier, but at this point, I would be surprised if one of the youngsters heading to camp — Duane Below, Jacob Turner, Adam Wilk, Andy Oliver or Drew Smyly — doesn’t win the open rotation spot. There’s more talent in that group than in the lower ranks of the free agency market right now. It’s the experience that’s lacking.

Below, Furbush called up; Wilk, Wells optioned

The Tigers announced two moves after the game — one of them expected, one less so. Duane Below is being recalled from Triple-A Toledo in advance of his Major League debut as Wednesday’s starting pitcher. But in addition, Charlie Furbush — who was the Tigers’ other option to start Wednesday — is coming up to handle long relief, which would suggest he’s no longer a starting option for the Tigers, at least not in the near futures.

Heading back to Toledo are left-hander Adam Wilk and outfielder Casper Wells. The latter comes about because the Tigers had an extra position player on their roster while they didn’t have a fifth starter.

“It’s a shame, because he didn’t really deserve to go down,” Leyland said. “He’s played well. He’s done a good job. I just felt like — we felt like — if we rest Magglio against the righty, then we’d have Dirks in the outfield. And right now, he just got the short end of the stick, and it’s a crying shame, because he does not deserve to go down.”

Wilk will start for the Mud Hens Wednesday night in what had been Below’s rotation spot. Fu-Te Ni started in place of Furbush and pitched seven innings of one-run ball with no walks and four strikeouts.

Saturday: Tigers at White Sox

The question isn’t with the Tigers lineup today, which is pretty standard, but with the bullpen. David Purcey left the ballpark this afternoon  to be with his wife for the birth of twins. He’ll go on paternity leave, which allows him to be away from the team for 1-3 days.

The Tigers can call someone up to replace him, and unlike most circumstances, they can call someone up who was sent down less than 10 days ago. That would put left-hander Adam Wilk into play. But with the Mud Hens in Scranton, it’s unlikely they can get anybody from there to here in time to be available. So it appears no move is on tap for tonight. Whether they do something for Sunday remains to be seen, but if Purcey’s expected back as soon as Monday in Texas — he lives in Dallas in the offseason — the Tigers have to figure out whether it’s worth making a move for potentially only one day.

For Saturday, at least, they’re a reliever short. But with Justin Verlander on the mound and Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde well-rested, it shouldn’t be a factor. The one difference for them is that they’re left with only one lefty reliever available in Daniel Schlereth.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Don Kelly, 3B
  3. Brennan Boesch, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Andy Dirks, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Ryan Raburn, 2B

P: Justin Verlander


  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  3. Carlos Quentin, DH
  4. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  5. Alex Rios, CF
  6. Brent Lillbridge, RF
  7. Adam Dunn, 1B
  8. Gordon Beckham, 2B
  9. Brent Morel, 3B

P: Edwin Jackson