Results tagged ‘ Armando Galarraga ’

Bonderman to be skipped this weekend

Had a question pop up yesterday asking whether the Tigers would start Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander this weekend in Boston. Turns out, the answer is both.

The Tigers have released their rotation for this weekend’s series against the Red Sox, and Jeremy Bonderman will have his spot skipped. The rotation order would’ve brought up his spot Friday or Saturday, depending on whether Jim Leyland wanted to start him or Armando Galarraga first.

Instead, Galarraga will pitch Friday night at Fenway, then Scherzer, then Verlander. It also means Verlander will not pitch next week against the White Sox.

Manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday afternoon that he wanted to keep Scherzer and Verlander on their regular four days of rest. Verlander talked last month about how he has trouble pitching on extra rest. Scherzer said it doesn’t really make a difference with him.
Leyland added that Bonderman will start on three days’ rest after his next outing. Next Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the White Sox left the Tigers with a choice — calling up a spot starter or going with a bullpen start. This gives them Plan C.
“What we wanted to avoid,” Leyland said, “is sending somebody down and bringing somebody up.”
Bonderman is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in five career starts at Fenway, but he has only pitched there twice since 2004 — a start each in 2006 and ’08. Of greater concern for the Tigers would be Bonderman’s recent struggles: He’s 2-2 with a 7.29 ERA over his last six starts, allowing 46 hits over 33 1/3 innings and giving up seven home runs.

Bonderman’s road numbers have been bad for most of the year, but all four of his July starts came at home, and he went 1-1 with a 7.77 ERA in those.

It isn’t an easy decision either way. One philosophy would suggest saving one of your front-line starters for the White Sox, especially in a series that starts with a day-night doubleheader. A Verlander start Tuesday sets you up to conserve your bullpen for the nightcap. On the other hand, the way the Tigers have struggled lately and struggled on the road all year, there’s a case to be made to give the team any chance it can to win this weekend.

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.

Galarraga now starting Friday for Toledo

The question no doubt came up after Armando Galarraga was seen with umpire Jim Joyce at the ESPY awards Wednesday night, but what happened with his scheduled start for Triple-A Toledo Thursday? Well, it was pushed back to Friday, a decision that came down before Galarraga went out to Los Angeles.

Galarraga is still on schedule to return to the Tigers rotation Tuesday, which means he’ll be going on short rest, which means he’ll most likely be on a pitch count Friday at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
I can’t say if the decision was made in correlation with ESPN’s invitation to Galarraga to appear at their awards ceremony, though the Tigers don’t normally bring back pitchers to Detroit to start on short rest. For what it’s worth, Billy Buckner started for the Mud Hens on Thursday and gave up nine runs on seven hits and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning. The Diamondbacks have parted ways with Dontrelle Willis, who agreed to a minor league deal with the Giants. Buckner, the man the Tigers acquired in the Willis trade, has given up 60 hits over 37 1/3 innings, including eight home runs, to go with a 9.40 ERA. 

Galarraga, Joyce hug it out

Not only was home-plate umpire Jim Joyce apologetic over his missed call that thwarted Armando Galarraga’s perfect game, he was up-front about it — not just to the media, to Gallarraga.

“He asked if he could see Armando,” said Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, “and I brought Armando in there and he
apologized profusely to him and he said he just felt terrible. They hugged each
other and Armando said ‘I understand.'”

The meeting took place in around the umpires’ room after Joyce had already talked with reporters. It was short and sweet.

“He understands,” Galarraga said. “I give him a lot of credit for coming in and saying ‘Hey, I need to talk to you to say I’m sorry.’ That doesn’t happen. You don’t seen an umpire after the game come out and say ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry.’ He apologized to me and he felt really bad. He didn’t even shower. He was in the same clothes. He gave me a couple hugs.”

Asked what was said, Galarraga said it wasn’t much.

“He used his body language,” Galarraga said. “His body language said more than words. His eyes were watering. You don’t have to say much. His body language said a lot.”

Dontrelle designated

Dontrelle Willis’ Tigers tenure is over. The Tigers announced Saturday they are designating his contract for assignment to make room for Max Scherzer on the 25-man roster in time for Scherzer’s scheduled start Sunday.

From there, the Tigers will technically have 10 days to try to trade Willis or see if another team claims Willis on waivers. Neither option seems likely. With Willis all but certain to decline a minor league assignment, this essentially means the end of a pairing that went perplexingly bad from the start in 2008 and never saw Willis return to his Florida form.

“It never worked out the way we would’ve liked it to work out,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in announcing the move. “I don’t think I really need to say any more than that. At the time, we thought we were getting a guy who would come in and be a very solid big league pitcher, and it didn’t work out for us. Those things happen at times. You’re never happy when they do. He’s put forward the effort. We know we’ve dealt with a lot of issues with him. It’s unfortunate.”

Willis went 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA over the last three years with the Tigers, covering 24 games, 22 of them starts. He missed stretches over the previous two seasons to the disabled list — a knee injury in 2008, then what was termed as anxiety disorder last year — but at the root, his Tigers tenure came down to a seemingly endless battle with finding the strike zone consistently.

The 28-year-old became one of baseball’s more encouraging comeback stories this spring when he won a job in the Opening Day rotation, beating out Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga among others. He threw quality outings in three of his first four starts, including six scoreless innings with six strikeouts against the Twins in a big AL Central battle April 29 at Comerica Park.

For the season, went 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in eight starts and a relief appearance, but it was his May struggles — 0-1 record, 6.52 ERA, 23 hits and 17 walks over 19 1/3 innings — that drew the Tigers to stick with the recently-recalled Galarraga in the rotation over Willis. He had solid stretches in a couple of those May performances, retiring 11 of the first 12 Dodgers he faced May 21 in Los Angeles, but had similarly rough stretches where he battled walks.

“I think probably the uncertainly is [a factor],” manager Jim Leyland said. “Not knowing what you were going to get was probably a key factor. I’ll leave it at that, because he gave a great effort and he was a great teammate. It’s sad, really.”

His performance Friday night against the A’s, giving up three runs on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts, prompted a meeting among club officials Saturday afternoon.

“It’s difficult,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “For us and for me, because we had a meeting with the staff members today, it’s difficult, because he’s worked hard to try to overcome a lot. He’s made some strides, it became apparent, this year. For us, we just weren’t seeing the same progress we saw in the spring. At times you see, but not on a consistent basis.”

This team, a disabled list stint was not an option. The Tigers apparently had no such discussions with either Willis or his agent, Matt Sosnick, before they informed Willis of the move Saturday night.

For now, Willis will be in roster limbo, but could well be headed for a release. To claim Willis on waivers would involve taking on the rest of his contract. He’s scheduled to make $12 million this season, the final year of the three-year, $29 million contract he signed with the Tigers after they acquired him from Florida in the Miguel Cabrera trade.

Even with the Tigers picking up the rest of that money, a little more than $8 million, it would appear unlikely another team would give up a prospect for him in the way the Tigers were able to acquire a reliever for Nate Robertson at the end of Spring Training.

With Willis all but certain to decline a minor league assignment, as is his right, he could become a free agent in a week and a half, which would allow him to sign with another team for the Major League minimum and have the Tigers pick up the rest of his salary. More important for him, he’ll get a fresh start in a new organization.

“I definitely have seen some strides forward from last year to this year,” catcher Gerald Laird. “He’s close. He’s going to bounce back and get with another club, and he’s going to get right. It’s tough to see a guy leave like that. But they felt like the decision needed to be made to better the ballclub, and they did it. It’s one of those things you hate to see, but it’s part of the game and we all understand that. He does, too.

“His career is far from over. You are going to see him back somewhere.”

Ok, now Scherzer is starting Sunday

Disregard the last post completely. After saying the plan was for Galarraga to start Sunday, now Jim Leyland said this afternoon that Max Scherzer is indeed coming back to the Tigers and will start Sunday. He would not say what the rotation move is, or any roster move for that matter, but one would expect to see that coming after the game. Im actually off this weekend, but you can check on for more info once this whole thing clears up.

Galarraga still on for Sunday

Tweeted this last night, forgot to blog, but Armando Galarraga’s relief appearance Friday night changes nothing about his scheduled start for Sunday. He’s still on to pitch that outing, and Max Scherzer is going to remain at Triple-A Toledo for now.

Essentially, Friday’s outing was a second side session for Galarraga, who also threw in the bullpen during Wednesday’s game at Seattle. He did a lot of work on his slider Wednesday, and he took that work into Friday’s outing. With seven days between starts, he had the time to throw on the side twice, though I’m not sure how long manager Jim Leyland would’ve allowed him to go had he gotten in trouble in that seventh inning.

“I just felt we needed to get him out there,” Leyland said after the game. “He hadn’t been out there for a while. He’ll be fine. He didn’t throw that many pitches. We were a little short tonight, obviously. You have to be careful how to use your bullpen, so I thought it was a good time to put him in there.”

Asked then whether Galarraga is still on for Sunday, Leyland said, “I would plan on that.”

Sizemore, Scherzer to Toledo; Worth coming up

The first Saturday night fireworks of the season at Comerica Park weren’t just on the field. After the Tigers’ comeback win over the Red Sox, they made three key changes to their roster, optioning starting second baseman Scott Sizemore and key starting pitcher Max Scherzer to Triple-A Toledo and anointing Carlos Guillen as the new starter at second when he returns from the disabled list.

Armando Galarraga, who was already being recalled from Toledo to start Sunday’s series finale against Boston, will stay in the rotation. To replace Sizemore, the Tigers purchased the contract of infielder Danny Worth, who could make his Major League debut as soon as Sunday at second base.

Manager Jim Leyland said he’ll fill second base with some combination of Ramon Santiago, Worth and utilityman Don Kelly until Guillen is ready. Guillen, currently on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring, has been taking ground balls the past couple days and is expected to begin a rehab assignment sometime next week after the Tigers’ current homestand ends Tuesday.

The moves and announcements came just before midnight after Detroit’s 12-inning victory, and they came in a flurry.

The Tigers tabbed Scherzer to fill the void in the middle of their rotation immediately upon acquiring the gifted 25-year-old from Arizona in the Edwin Jackson trade last December. After four encouraging April starts, however, he fell into a deep four-start struggle that saw him battle his mechanics moreso than hitters.

Scherzer gave up 27 runs on 33 hits over 18 innings in his last four starts, the last three of them losses. The capper came Friday night, when he surrendered three home runs — including a 450-foot drive from David Ortiz — tagged him with six runs on six hits over five innings.

Scherzer has given up nine home runs this season, tying him for second in the American League entering Saturday.

Scherzer would’ve been on track to start next Thursday at Oakland. Instead, the Tigers will likely slot Dontrelle Willis into that outing, pitching him in his hometown. Galarraga can then start Friday against the Dodgers on his regular turn after starting Sunday.

Galarraga has boasted impressive numbers in Toledo, owning a 4-2 record with a 3.92 ERA. With a strike-to-ball ratio of better than 2-to-1, his command seems to have improved since last season with the Tigers, where he posted a 6-10 record in 25 starts before being relegated to bullpen duties.

The 25-year-old Sizemore has struggled for the vast majority of this season to date, but has fallen on particularly tough times lately. His two strikeouts against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester Saturday night extended his current slump to 0-for-14 and dropped his average to .206. He hit one home run and added eight RBIs, part of the struggles at the bottom of the Tigers order.

The telling sign came Saturday night, when manager Jim Leyland used Ramon Santiago to pinch-hit for Sizemore in the eighth inning of a tie game with Red Sox left-hander Hideki Okajima and the potential go-ahead run on third with one out. Santiago lined out to third and stayed in the game at second base before drawing the walkoff walk to drive in the winning run in the 12th.

The 24-year-old Worth was once among the Tigers’ shortstop prospects, having been drafted in the second round of the 2007 Draft out of Pepperdine. He largely struggled as a hitter in his first three seasons, but has proven valuable around the infield this year at Toledo, where he entered Saturday batting .274 with five doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs.  He has played at shortstop, second and third.

Wells up for 2 days; Galarraga to start Sunday

The move is official: Casper Wells has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo, and Alfredo Figaro is headed back to the Hens. But Leyland also announced his next move coming Sunday: Wells will be optioned back to Toledo, and Armando Galarraga will be called up to start Sunday against the Red Sox. So unless there’s an injury that changes plans, Wells’ first big-league stint will be a short one.

Leyland did not get into what happens with Galarraga after Sunday. However, the Tigers won’t need an extra starter after that, since their five starters will be on short rest. Given that, plus the fact that Leyland doesn’t really want 13 pitchers on the staff unless the bullpen is really worn down, seemingly makes this a one-time outing for Galarraga.

Who comes back in his place? Interesting question. After double-checking on the rules, it appears the Tigers do NOT have to wait 10 days to recall Ryan Raburn, regardless of whether he’s replacing somebody on the disabled list. That seemingly could lead to Raburn’s return next week. After double-checking again, it appears the 10-day rule is still in effect, so the Tigers can’t recall Raburn until next Saturday. So we’re back to guessing who comes up again.

Tigers fifth starter Phil Coke?

It’s starting to sound more like a possibility now.

One of the questions that came up during the conference call announcing the Jose Valverde deal is how the rest of what was already shaping up to be a deep Tigers bullpen will slot with a closer now on board. If Zumaya’s healthy, Dave Dombrowski pointed out, he has a history as a setup man. Ryan Perry and Zach Miner slot in for the middle innings, and Dombrowski obviously likes the depth with their left-handers.

Which brought him to Coke.

“I think he’ll get the ball with a change to lengthen out in the spring,” Dombrowski said, “and get a chance to compete for the fifth spot.”

With that, another names enters the rotation competition with Armando Galarraga, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Eddie Bonine. With the Tigers sounding increasingly confident that Jeremy Bonderman will take the fourth spot in the rotation, it’s looking like a handful of pitchers will compete for one rotation spot.

That should pretty much be the field, because the pitching staff looks pretty much set.

“If we did [make another signing], it would not be a pitcher,” Dombrowski said. “We feel very comfortable with our pitching right now. We have four starters who we think are set.”