Results tagged ‘ Daniel Schlereth ’

Tigers non-tender Daniel Schlereth (updated)

Turns out the Tigers did have a non-tender decision to make Friday, but it wasn’t an arbitration-eligible player. Instead, it was Daniel Schlereth, who’s a year away from arbitration but also a year separated from his healthy pitching form.

The left-handed reliever, who was part of the Tigers’ return in the Edwin Jackson trade at the winter meetings three years ago, missed most of this past season with shoulder tendinitis. He spent most of the summer trying to rehab his way back to pitching health and avoid surgery, and he got back in time for a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo in August. He had some decent results, but his velocity was down, and he wasn’t activated from the DL when rosters expanded in September.

Team president/GM Dave Dombrowski said this afternoon that the health wasn’t an issue in the decision.

“I think he was fine at the end of the year,” Dombrowski said.

Indeed, Schlereth confirmed he’s in better shape now, and ready to start his offseason throwing program in preparation for Spring Training. Now he has to find a camp.

“Everything is good now,” Schlereth said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “I actually have to start throwing this week or next week. If there was still something wrong by this time, I’d be having surgery, and I don’t plan to.”

So if it wasn’t a question of health, what was it?

“It’s just a situation where today you have to make final decisions,” Dombrowski said. “We just felt at this time the roster space was more appealing to us than having that spot tied up with his tender.”

The move caught Schlereth by surprise. He wasn’t angry, but he was definitely caught off-guard.

“I just never thought this would happen. This blindsided me,” he said.

At the same time, he had no hard feelings for the Tigers.

“I love the team,” he said. “It’s a great organization. Its’ going to hurt a little bit, but that’s life. They want to move on and I really can’t do that. I just have to go out and prove myself somewhere else.”

In the end, Schlereth does think the injury had something to do with it, at least the way it unfolded. He admits to trying to pitch through shoulder soreness in April, not saying anything about it until the Tigers tried to option him to Triple-A Toledo.

“At the end of the day, it’s my career, my doing. They did all they could do,” Schlereth said. “They recognized I was hurt in the big leagues and [the injury] didn’t happen in the minor leagues. And I’m actually thankful they did that, because being on the DL in the minor leagues would be brutal. I’m really thankful they did that. But there’s really nothing that could’ve changed. It was probably bound to happen.”

Dombrowski said the move doesn’t lead the Tigers into a search for another lefty reliever. Duane Below, Darin Downs, Matt Hoffman and Andy Oliver are currently on the roster with a chance to take the second lefty job in the bullpen (if Detroit carries a second lefty reliever). Casey Crosby also could end up being a factor, though he’s expected to work as a starter.

The Tigers tendered contracts to all their other players without long-term contracts. That includes outfielder Brennan Boesch, whom Dombrowski said last month they would tender a contract.

The Schlereth move brings the Tigers’ 40-man roster to 38 players and two open spots. They already had an open spot from releasing Ryan Raburn last week. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have multiple moves coming at next week’s Winter Meetings. It means Raburn and Schlereth weren’t going to be part of this team no matter what moves are coming this winter.

Day 6: Turner, Smyly … Who’s more polished?

Jacob Turner and Drew Smyly have a budding rivalry going … in Tiger Woods Golf.

They’re not roommates here at spring training, but along with Casey Crosby, they’re hanging out and playing video games, much like Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry were doing a few years ago. Their trash talk carries over into the Tigers locker room, where Turner was razzing Smyly while he was being interviewed.

Turner has taken his fair share of rookie abuse for the past two spring trainings here, so he has finally earned the chance to dish it out. And yet Smyly, in his first spring training with the big club in just his second professional season, is nearly two years older than Turner.

The way they interact back up Jim Leyland’s feeling that this isn’t a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation. Nonetheless, they’re two talented pitching prospects who could break camp in the rotation, though they can’t both do it. And they come from vastly different routes to this point.

Turner just began his third season as a professional pitcher. He has started all three years in Major League camp with the Tigers after Detroit drafted him in the first round in 2009 (in fact, if you don’t count the compensation round, he’s the last Tigers first-round pick). He has logged more spring training time with the Tigers than any other starting candidate in this camp, and he has more Major League and minor league starts than Justin Verlander did before he cracked the Tigers rotation in 2006.

At age 20, he can face big-league hitters in workouts and not look overwhelmed at all. He sounds like somebody who has been through this before, even though he has only watched it.

“I think this one might be more exciting for me,” Turner said, “just because this is my third year and I’m more comfortable being around everything and I know what to expect, what’s going on. I’m definitely really excited for this spring, and we’ll see what happens.”

Smyly, as mentioned, is beginning his second pro season and his first big-league camp. When Turner was going through his first camp two years ago, Smyly was going through the SEC at the University of Arkansas. When Turner was on standby here as a possible postseason injury replacement if Detroit needed a starter, Smyly was pitching for Team USA in the Pan Am Games in Mexico.

“Now, I’m in the same big league camp as Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera,” Smyly said.

He isn’t a prototypical hard-throwing Tigers pick, but his polish by all accounts last year was impressive for somebody just beginning his career. He put that on display for Tigers coaches when he faced hitters for the first time, and they left impressed.

Smyly brought more experience into this camp than Turner did into his first one. Turner, however, brought more pro experience. Their experiences, so far, have been parallel. When the Tigers called up Turner from Double-A Erie for his Major League debut July 30, Smyly replaced him in Erie’s rotation that night, having been called up a few days earlier.

Bottom line, neither of them are here just for show, or just for experience. Either of these guys could break camp.

Someone check on Wilson Betemit: They’re actually separate items, but they add up to a brutal day for former Tigers. Joel Zumaya ended a live throwing session early at Twins camp on Saturday after reportedly feeling something in his elbow. Later, Scott Sizemore reportedly sprained his knee during infield drills at A’s camp. Meanwhile, Carlos Guillen has missed the last two days of Mariners workouts with calf tightness, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. The M’s reportedly don’t believe it’s anything serious.

Actual workout item of the day: Both Turner and Smyly pitched against live hitters Saturday, and neither looked like green prospects. Turner went time and again to the outside corner with breaking pitches, trying to show he can spot it for a strike. Hitters made contact against him, but most of it on the ground. Smyly mixed pitches deceptively and got swings and misses from a group of hitters that included Gerald Laird, Audy Ciriaco and Jerad Head.

Actual workout item of the day, part 2: Daniel Schlereth came into camp looking to improve his fastball command, and Saturday was a start. Schlereth wasn’t completely pleased with it, but he was pretty upbeat, and he had coaches watching. He said he’s also throwing a slightly different slider with a little different movement.

Non-workout item of the day: Leyland stated the obvious on Saturday, that they haven’t decided anything on the open rotation spot and that they don’t have any favorites.

“We’re putting them all out there and we’re going to make a decision,” Leyland said. “We haven’t done that yet. We haven’t even played games. Nobody has a leg up on anybody.”

Quote of the day: “All-Northern Lakes League doesn’t usually send you to Canton.” — Leyland on his football career

Latest bullpen shuffle: Schlereth back, Ruffin down

Five days after the Tigers called up Chance Ruffin for his first shot with the big club, they sent him back down.

Meanwhile, a month after manager Jim Leyland said four left-handed relievers was really too many for his bullpen, he’s back to four for now.

By optioning Ruffin back to Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers made room for left-hander Daniel Schlereth, who was called back up to Detroit. With the Mud Hens at home this week, Schlereth had just a short drive to get to Comerica Park in time for Friday’s game against the Angels.

It might well be a case for the Tigers bringing up a fresh arm for the bullpen for this weekend after  burning through their relief corps Thursday and having Al Alburquerque’s elbow checked out Thursday. Or, it could be a matter of the Tigers needing a left-hander they can count on while David Purcey works out his command issues. The fact that the Angels don’t have a lot of dangerous left-handed hitters would strongly suggest the fresh-arm scenario.

By sacrificing Ruffin’s spot for Schlereth, the Tigers put themselves in an interesting situation with their bullpen. Until Alburquerque is available again, the only right-handers available in Detroit’s bullpen will be setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde. Granted, Phil Coke has a track record of retiring lefties and righties alike, and Purcey’s numbers are actually stronger against right-handed batters, but the Angels bat six points higher against lefties for the season than they do overall.

Ruffin had an ill-fated major league debut, entering with the bases-loaded in a tie game Monday against the White Sox and ending up with two runs on three hits over 1 2/3 innings. But his two scoreless innings Thursday kept the Tigers close against the Angels until Purcey came in.

Schlereth, meanwhile, fared quite well in Toledo, allowing a run on six hits over 11 2/3 innings with five walks and 18 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.

TIGERS

  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

WHITE SOX

  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

Your guide to Tigers reliever nicknames

And you thought the Tigers bullpen lost its character when Phil Coke became a starter.

Daniel Schlereth is out there, and as it turns out, he’s a character. So is Brad Thomas, and so, apparently, is Brayan Villarreal.

Schlereth announced today that he wants to be known by his nickname, the Alaskan Assassin. He was born in Anchorage, so that makes sense. He also has been nicknamed the Baby Black Bear.

I told him that could be quite a tandem, the Alaskan Assassin and Agent P, otherwise known as Ryan Perry, or the Platypus. But Perry has earned a new nickname in the Tigers bullpen. After his DL stint with an eye infection, he’s now known as Cyclops.

On down the line it went. Brayan Villarreal? He’s known as Zorro, Schlereth said, because of the hair.

Al Alburquerque? Schlereth didn’t have one for him, but Villarreal said he’s known as Avatar, after the characters from the movie.

Jose Valverde? They don’t really need a nickname, or at least they don’t dare put one of him. But when Big Potato was mentioned, Valverde nodded in approval.

Brad Thomas? Nothing. They just make fun of the Aussie accent.

Joaquin Benoit? Nothing yet.

Offbeat? You bet. But look at it this way: It sure beats those mohawk haircuts Tigers relievers had last year around this time.

Saturday: Tigers vs. Royals

It’s the second home game of the season, the day when the Tigers start to really settle into a routine at Comerica Park. For Casper Wells, however, it’s Opening Day. The last Tigers position player to get a start is in the lineup today, getting the start against lefty Bruce Chen.

Look for some more creativity if the Tigers take a lead into the seventh inning. Leyland is looking for six innings or so out of Phil Coke, and both Brayan Villarreal and Daniel Schlereth are off today since they pitched teh last couple days. Could be a spot for Robbie Weinhardt to get his first appearance, or it could be a day for Leyland to mix and match Brad Thomas and Enrique Gonzalez again. We’ll see.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Ryan Raburn, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Brandon Inge, 3B
  9. Casper Wells, RF

P: Phil Coke

ROYALS

  1. Chris Getz, 2B
  2. Melky Cabrera, CF
  3. Alex Gordon, LF
  4. Billy Butler, DH
  5. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
  6. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  7. Wilson Betemit, 3B
  8. Brayan Pena, C
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS

P: Bruce Chen

Perry to DL, Weinhardt recalled from Toledo

The Tigers’ first DL move of the regular season wasn’t anything expected. Detroit placed Ryan Perry on the 15-day DL on Thursday, retroactive to Tuesday, with an infected eye. Robbie Weinhardt, one of the last cuts of Spring Training, has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take his place.

Weinhardt was already in Toledo for the Mud Hens season opener. He’ll be in Baltimore for tonight’s series finale against the Orioles.

What that means for the Tigers’ seventh-inning relief options might take a little longer to sort out. Manager Jim Leyland had Phil Coke available for the first four games, but he’s now back in starter mode ahead of his turn in the rotation Saturday against the Royals.

Weinhardt could be an option, as could left-handers Daniel Schlereth and Brad Thomas. As Leyland said a couple days ago, somebody needs to step up. The only difference now is that Perry isn’t an option for a couple weeks.

Schlereth to return with an inning today

Daniel Schlereth sounded Saturday morning like somebody who had just been released from the hospital.

“It’ll be nice to get out there [on the mound] and stop sitting in the training room for five hours a day,” Schlereth said.
Saturday will mark Schlereth’s first outing since Feb. 28, when he strained his left hamstring trying to cover first base. He has kept his arm in throwing shape since, but he had to show he could move at a reasonable speed if he has to get off the mound and either field a ground ball or cover first base.
“I know I can get to the bag if I need to,” Schlereth said. “Should be all go.”
Schlereth is scheduled to pitch an inning Saturday. With about 2 1/2 weeks left in camp, he should have enough time to stretch out his arm and make a case for a spot in the Tigers bullpen.

Schlereth, Guillen take steps toward return

The injury info around Tigers camp wasn’t limited to Joel Zumaya today. Daniel Schlereth threw a bullpen session this morning without discomfort in his strained left hamstring. His last hurdle is to be able to run all-out, which he hopes to get down in the next couple days. He says he’s on track to pitch again this weekend.

Schlereth estimates he threw about 40 pitches today.

“Pitches were down for the most part,” Schlereth said, “which was a good sign.”

As for Guillen, he ran the bases for the first time today and felt fine. The big test there was changing direction as opposed to running straight ahead like he had been. He thinks a couple more times doing that, including at all-out speed, should put him close to a return. Tuesday marks three weeks left before camp breaks, and the original timetable projected Guillen to be game-ready with two weeks left.

Schlereth hopes to pitch within a week

Talked during the game today with Daniel Schlereth, who said he hopes to be pitching within a week after straining his left hamstring last Sunday against the Yankees.

“I’ve been throwing every day,” he said, “so as long as my hamstring is OK, it’s not like I’m running sprints or anything. All I want to do is pitch.”

He’s been playing long toss from about 120 feet out, so that he can maintain his arm strength. He isn’t doing much runningwise, but he’s walking comfortably now.

He wants to give himself enough innings to be ready for the season, especially since it’s not an arm injury. The Tigers trotted out three potential lefty relievers — Charlie Furbush, Brad Thomas and Fu-Te Ni — in Friday’s loss to the O’s, but Schlereth would seem to be the primary lefty specialist as long as he’s healthy.

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