Results tagged ‘ Charlie Furbush ’

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.

Below to start Wednesday for Tigers

Duane Below will get his shot for the Tigers on Wednesday. He’s the scheduled starter for the two-game series finale against Oakland, the team announced Tuesday morning.

It’ll be the Major League debut for the 25-year-old Michigan native.

The announcement after Jacob Turner was moved up two days in the Erie rotation to coincide with the Tigers’ open spot, then Charlie Furbush pitched an inning of relief Sunday and supposedly scratched from his start for the Mud Hens. In other words, this move comes after no shortage of twists and turns.

The Tigers will have to make a roster move to bring up Below after tonight’s game. No word on that yet, though it’s safe to say the condition of Austin Jackson’s ailing wrist might play a role in that. If he still isn’t right, he could go on the disabled list to make room.

Of all the pitching prospects at Triple-A Toledo, Below has been the quietest, but he’s been quietly consistent. He’s 9-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 18 starts as a Mud Hen this year, allowing 99 hits over 115 innings. He’s unbeaten in his last four outings, allowing six runs on 20 hits over 26 innings in that stretch with 10 walks and 18 strikeouts.

Furbush looking likely for Wednesday start

The Tigers have not announced their scheduled starter for Wednesday yet, but the scene at Triple-A Toledo Sunday night suggests they’ve made their choice. Charlie Furbush, who started Thursday’s game for the Mud Hens, made a surprise relief appearance Sunday night for the Hens in the sixth inning. As the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner reports on his Coop Scoop blog, Hens manager Phil Nevin said after the game that he pitched Furbush an inning in relief at the Tigers’ request.

Nevin also told The Blade that Fu-Ne Ni is now scheduled to start for the Mud Hens Tuesday in the spot that originally belonged to Furbush.

Considering Tigers officials are now saying Jacob Turner is unlikely to pitch in Detroit this season despite the Tigers moving him up two days in the rotation at Double-A Erie, to a spot that coincides with the open spot in Detroit’s rotation, all this Furbush speculation could still amount to nothing. Or, it could mean he got an extra inning of work for Furbush to keep him fresh before starting for the Tigers Wednesday night against Oakland on an extra day’s rest.

It might well be a spot start until the Tigers trade for another starter, as Dombrowski admitted he’s trying to do in an interview with Foxsports.com Sunday. But for now, the best guess is that it’s Furbush’s rotation spot. Put it this way: The Tigers wouldn’t request an inning of relief for Furbush if he was being pushed back a day to take Duane Below’s rotation spot in Toledo on Wednesday.

One more thought on Turner: If the Tigers are determined to add a veteran starter, then it makes sense to have him stay in the minors rather than take the spot. Yes, Justin Verlander made two spot starts in 2005 before cracking the rotation the next year, but he was older and neither start went well. One advantage Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello had when they made the Tigers rotation at age 20 was that they knew they had the patience of the organization on their side. If they blew up in a start, they’d be back out there in five days or so. This isn’t a luxury the Tigers have now, and having Turner reading the rumor mill while he’s trying to read scouting reports makes no sense for anyone. He probably has better stuff than anyone the Tigers can acquire, unless they pull off a deal for Ubaldo Jimenez, but it doesn’t matter unless there’s patience.

Turner moved up in rotation at Erie

It’s an off-day for the Tigers, who worked out tonight at Comerica Park, but it’s still a news day. It’s also a game day for Double-A Erie, where Jacob Turner has rejoined the club after pitching in the All-Star Futures Game Sunday at Phoenix and the Eastern League All-Star Game Wednesday in New Hampshire.

When Turner talked in Phoenix, he said his next start for Erie was slated for July 18, giving him some extra rest. That plan has changed in recent days. Turner will start for the SeaWolves tomorrow (Friday), despite pitching an inning in the Eastern League All-Star Game two days earlier.

Coincidentally, the Tigers have an open spot in their rotation five days later, the normal time between starts. But it’s difficult to see a pitching prospect being moved up two days in the rotation by a team with an open spot as a coincidence.

That doesn’t mean that Turner is the choice to start next Wednesday. Charlie Furbush started Thursday for Triple-A Toledo, and he remains a strong option to return to Detroit. Duane Below, who takes a 9-4 record and 3.06 ERA into his start for the Mud Hens on Friday, also appears to be an option. There’s also the trade route, though it would be difficult to line up somebody from another team’s rotation to come in and start on that short notice. There are no indications yet that the Tigers have set their plans for next Wednesday.

Even if Furbush starts next Wednesday, that doesn’t necessarily solve the issue beyond that. By moving up Turner, the Tigers put him in line with that fifth spot for the foreseeable future. If Furbush has another rough outing, the Tigers could take the chance and start Turner. But if the Tigers go to Turner, it isn’t likely to be for just a spot start. That’s where this juggling act gets tricky, and why the Tigers are taking their time on this. If Furbush starts and the Tigers later trade for a starter or opt for Turner, Furbush can go the bullpen. They won’t do that shuffle with Turner.

Thomas to 15-day DL, Furbush called up from Toledo

Charlie Furbush’s rapid rise through the Tigers farm system has landed him his first shot in the big leagues. The Tigers called up the deceptive left-hander from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday morning to take the place of lefty reliever Brad Thomas, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation.

Furbush makes the trip from Toledo presumably to fill Thomas’ bullpen spot, and some have projected him as an eventual strikeout lefty in the Majors. But his numbers at Toledo this year, and at three different levels last year, came as a starter with multiple out pitches. After ranking second among all Minor League pitchers last year with 183 strikeouts over 159 innings, the 25-year-old southpaw leads the International League with 55 strikeouts over 46 1/3 innings this season with the Mud Hens.

Just as impressive, and a big step in his development, he has managed to largely hold down hitters even when they put the ball in play. His 4-3 record over eight starts belies a 2.91 ERA, which kept him in some low-scoring affairs. Two of his starts were one-hit performances over seven and eight innings, the latter coming in defeat against Charlotte on the same day Justin Verlander pitched his no-hitter at Toronto.

The numbers and the pitching made Furbush one of the primary prospects to watch in Toledo alongside fellow lefty Andy Oliver, while another southpaw, Duane Below, has pitched himself into the conversation. Speculation had been building for Furbush and Oliver to get their shot shortly if they kept up this stingy pitching.

Furbush’s opportunity came from injury with Thomas, whose left elbow locked up on him Friday and left him unavailable for the series opener here against the Pirates. Thomas was scheduled to be checked out Saturday morning, but the Tigers couldn’t wait long without a roster move. His absence for any stretch would’ve left Daniel Schlereth as the lone left-hander in Detroit’s bullpen.

While there was talk out of Spring Training about the Tigers possibly getting by with one lefty, that depended on having an effective Joaquin Benoit pitching the eighth inning and a healthy Joel Zumaya fastball for the seventh. Neither of those have happened so far, though Benoit looked more like last year’s form in a mop-up inning Friday night.

Day 3 notes: Furbush makes early impression

Charlie Furbush didn’t come into camp with nearly the hype of fellow Tigers pitching prospects Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver. But he comes in with a massive strikeout total, a very deceptive delivery and a good reputation.

He has the manager’s attention.

“I’m real interested to see him,” manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday morning. “I got a very interesting report on him from somebody who’s not with the Tigers, how much progress he’s made in the last year or so.”

Leyland talked quite a bit about Furbush this morning — not really as a guy fighting to make the team out of this camp, but as one of the young starters trying to put himself in a position for an in-season call-up if injuries or other issues force the Tigers to dip into the farm system for another starter.

They are not looking at him at this point as a lefty reliever, Leyland indicated.

“I think we’re focusing on him as a starting pitcher,” Leyland said. “That’s what he’s been, and we’re thinking along those lines.”

If Furbush isn’t among the lefty relief candidates, that reduces the pool a bit. Daniel Schlereth is obviously a big part of it, as is long reliever Brad Thomas. The other lefties in camp include non-roster  guys Fu-Te Ni, Adam Wilk and John Bale.

But it also puts a little more depth into the Tigers’ starting ranks. Detroit’s insurance starters appeared limited to Oliver and Turner, barring a spot start or two from Thomas, but Leyland emphasized they have some depth.

“We think we’ve got more depth than a lot of people think we have,” Leyland said.

Other notes:

  • Leyland said he went into the weight room to get in a morning workout around 7 am. He found Brad Penny already into his workout. “He’s working his [tail] off,” Leyland said. “I went up to him and said, ‘You’re a young guy yet.'”
  • Justin Verlander said today he’s going to be tough on himself in his bullpen sessions and game outings this spring as he tries to get himself ready for his best form in April. Physically, his offseason and springs workouts haven’t been any different, but his mental preparation and focus are way different.
  • Brandon Inge isn’t in camp yet, but there’s a present waiting on his chair in the clubhouse. Somebody found one of his old chest protectors (it has his name on it) from his catching days and put it on there with a note: “Pudge wanted to make sure you had gear this year. Just in case!”
  • One good piece of news about Phil Coke’s conversion to starting: It should be a little safer for fans in the stands. One teammate suggested Coke led the Majors in long toss overthrows into the seats. Coke counted three fans he hit by accident.

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.
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