Results tagged ‘ Andrew Oliver ’

First round of roster cuts

The Tigers made their first round of roster moves Tuesday, and as expected, it cleared a big chunk of the clubhouse. Yet none of them were of particular surprise.

Among the players on the 40-man roster, Duane Below, Audy Ciriaco, Cale Iorg, Andy Oliver, Lester Oliveros, Jose Ortega and Ryan Strieby were optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Jacob Turner was optioned to Double-A Erie, so it appears he’ll take that step up to start the season rather than wait until the weather warms up.

Among the non-roster invites, here’s teh list of guys optioned to minor-league camp: John Bale, Rob Brantly, Brandon Douglas, Avisail Garcia, Ben Guez, Bryan Holaday, Patrick Leyland, John Murrian, Chris Oxspring and Omir Santos.

Day 1 notes: Leyland targets Valverde for PFP

Remember Jim Leyland’s running challenge to Justin Verlander on PFP grounders in workouts last spring training? Leyland would crow whenever he got a ground ball past Verlander, who’s competitive enough that he wants to win at that. Kept waiting to see if they renewed the challenge Monday, the first day of spring workouts, but Leyland found a new target for his fun: Jose Valverde.

“I set you up, baby! And I can do it again if I want,” Leyland bragged when he got a tricky ground ball past his closer.

“Anytime I want. Just a little on, a little off,” he said after another one.

Valverde loved it. He had a good laugh whenever Leyland said it. And then he came up with some pretty impressive grabs for a Big Potato.

Leyland loved that, too.

“He’s a fun guy,” Leyland said of Valverde after the workout. “He’s really got one of the better personalities I’ve ever been around. And I guess when you’re that big and strong, it’s probably a good thing you’ve got a good personality.

“He’s legitimately fun to be around. I like him a lot.”

Leyland also likes the PFP drills a lot, because the way they set it up, pitchers see a good number of ground balls without a lot of standing around. They separate the pitchers into groups and split them onto the four back fields of the Tigertown complex, then rotate them around. Each field emphasizes a different area.

“I think it’s a good drill,” Leyland said. “And I will do it for as long as I manage.”

Other things worth noting on the first day of official workouts:

  • Leyland mentioned this as a key camp for Tigers pitching prospects Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner and Charlie Furbush, even though their chances of making the team out of camp are slim (Furbush might have a better chance as a potential lefty reliever). Barring injuries, they won’t be part of the starting five, but they stand as the Tigers’ best options for insurance starters if somebody gets hurt, either here or during the season. “We want these guys to start this process today to get themselves prepared to get as close as they can,” Leyland said. “And if something does come up, maybe somebody is ready by the camp.”
  • For someone with such a key role on this team, Austin Jackson had possibly the quietest entrance of any potential star player this spring, which probably says a lot about how much he has learned in his second year. He showed up Monday morning after the clubhouse had emptied and pitchers and catchers had taken the field, then got in his work.
  • Among the arrivals Monday was Max St. Pierre, who reported to camp noticeably lighter. That wasn’t by design. He said he had two bouts of stomach virus and the flu, the combination of which dropped 15 pounds off his frame. He’s fine now, but he wants to regain some of that weight before the season starts.
  • Speaking of weight loss, Joel Zumaya said he’s down to 230 pounds, but wants to put on some weight before the season starts. “I want to be at the 240 range,” he said. “I’m at 230-231. But that’s just getting muscle and eating a little more. … If I can stay between 235 and 240, I think I’m good.”
  • In case you were wondering, Don Kelly was not among the catchers who took their place for bullpen sessions Monday morning. He was working with the other position players. That’s fine, because Leyland said a month ago that Kelly didn’t have to report with the catchers. Kelly was here early by his own choice.
  • Remember the ill-fated mohawk idea that went through the Tigers clubhouse last year? Detroit’s bullpen might have a replacement for it. Because right now, there are a lot of beards among the relievers, and not many plans to shave them anytime soon. Zumaya has pretty much a full beard and says he’s keeping it when the season starts. Schlereth has a beard fit for his native Alaska. Ryan Perry has a bit of one going. If it catches on, it’ll be a little cleaner looking than the mohawk one.

Tigers send out Oliver to make room for Galarraga

The Tigers made their expected rotation tweak a day ahead of time, sending rookie left-hander Andy Oliver to Triple-A Toledo Monday afternoon to make room for right-hander Armando Galarraga.
The move brings back Galarraga ahead of his scheduled start Tuesday against Texas. The Tigers optioned Galarraga to Toledo a week and a half ago with the express intent of getting him some pitching time last week before rejoining the rotation. Galarraga pitched three scoreless innings of relief Friday at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
With Oliver out, Rick Porcello officially remains in the Tigers rotation after returning for what was originally characterized as a spot start Saturday night at Cleveland. The Tigers haven’t said when Porcello would start next, but his rotation spot would fall Thursday afternoon against the Blue Jays at Comerica Park. Porcello pitched his way back with eight innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts against the Indians, by far the best performance by a Tigers pitcher over the weekend.
For Oliver, the move ends a five-start stint in the big leagues that showed his potential as a power left-handed starter, but also showed the learning curve he still has to make in his first  full pro season. The 22-year-old gave up two earned runs over six innings in each of his first two starts, but lost them both, before struggling in each of his last three outings. He went 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA, allowing 18 earned runs on 26 hits over 22 innings with 13 walks and 18 strikeouts.

Leyland: Porcello needs to pitch (in Toledo)

If anyone was expecting Rick Porcello’s eight innings of one-hit ball to earn him a quick return to Detroit, it isn’t happening. Manager Jim Leyland put an end to that speculation before it had a chance to begin.
“He needs to pitch,” Leyland said.
Leyland added that left-hander Andy Oliver will make his next turn in the rotation, which comes up Wednesday afternoon against the Twins in the finale of their three-game series at Target Field.
A double to left field was the lone hit the 21-year-old Porcello allowed in his first Triple-A start. He induced 15 ground-ball outs compared with just six fly balls. Organizational reports said he had a good amount of success with his slider, a huge development for him as a third pitch.
“It was a step in the right direction,” Knapp said of the slider.
The outing drew comparisons to the brief Toledo stint of Max Scherzer, who proved after two starts that he had made the adjustments he needed to be an effective Major League pitcher. Leyland isn’t going to bite on comparisons.
“Porcello needs to pitch,” Leyland reiterated. “I’m not going to talk about Porcello right now. Everybody’s all excited [after] one start. He needs to go down there and pitch and get himself straightened out. I’m not going to get all excited. He needs to go down there and get work in and pitch.
“And I love Rick Porcello, and I think he’s going to be back, and I think he’s going to be a great Major League pitcher. But he’s down in the Minor Leagues right now, and we’re handling issues up here.”

Tigers all over the place in prospect rankings

So as you might have seen on the site or on MLB Network last night, MLB.com came out with its preseason Top 50 prospect list. The Tigers came in with two kids on the list: Austin Jackson was the top Tiger at 38th, but first-round draft pick Jacob Turner isn’t far behind at 42.

Today, ESPN.com’s Keith Law came out with his top 100 prospects list. Jackson and Turner are on that list, too, but neither cracked the Top 50. Casey Crosby, however, did. He’s at 45, with Jackson at 70 and Turner at 80. Interestingly, Law is subdued on his projections for Jackson, whom he sees as a true center field with a league-average bat. Scott Sizemore barely missed the top 100, Law writes, and probably would’ve made the cut had his Arizona Fall League not ended early with a broken ankle. Law projects him as a “solid-average regular for several years.”

Not to be overlooked (thanks to Ed Price for pointing it out) is the prospects list from AOL Fanhouse, which has five (count ‘em, five) Tigers in the Top 100. Jackson is 25th on that list by Frankie Piliere, who says Jackson has “grown by leaps and bounds since he was drafted.” The next-highest Tiger is Andy Oliver, who didn’t make the other two lists but hits 47th here. Another missing name from the other two rankings, Daniel Schlereth, is 78th, followed by Crosby at 82 and Turner at 90.

My point isn’t to argue that any one list is better than another; I just find the varying opinions fascinating. I’m entering my ninth year on this beat, and I can’t remember such varying national opinions on Tigers prospects. The one thing all these lists have in common is that they show progress in Detroit’s farm system. They’re drafting and developing more high-level talent rather than just one or two really good pitchers, and in the case of Jackson and Schlereth, they’re trading for them too.

Oliver gets welcome to pro ball

Jason Beck / MLB.com

Tigers second-round draft pick Andrew Oliver made his pro debut Tuesday in the Arizona Fall League and took the loss for the Peoria Javelinas with a four-run third inning.

Oliver, the left-hander the Tigers drafted out of Oklahoma State, replaced Javelinas starter and fellow Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker, who gave up a run on a hit — a Brandon Laird RBI single — in two innings. A leadoff single and back-to-back walks — one on four pitches, the next on five — loaded the bases on Oliver. He fell behind on a 3-1 count to left-handed hitting Mets prospect Ike Davis, who got a fastball on the inside part of the plate and pulled it out to right for a grand slam.

Oliver retired the side from there, finishing with a 29-pitch inning. Tigers relief prospect Robbie Weinhardt came in later and gave up five runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings.

Casper Wells went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Cale Iorg had an RBI single.

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