The first pitcher to be officially eliminated from competition for the final rotation spot is Armando Galarraga. The Tigers announced via twitter today that Galarraga has been optioned to AAA Toledo where he will pitch for the MudHens.
Galarraga had a stellar rookie campaign in 2008, leading the last-place Tigers with 13 victories. He started 2009 the same way, going 3-0 with a sub-2.00 ERA in four April starts. But Galarraga faded badly after that, eventually losing his starting job. He entered camp in spring as a candidate to win the fifth starter’s role, but struggled with command.
His inability (or unwillingness) to work ahead in the count necessitated this move. Jim Leyland’s message to the staff was clear; throw strikes and pitch aggressively. Galarraga, along with Zach Miner, has been perhaps the most glaring opposite of that approach.
In seven innings of work over four games this spring, Galarraga had allowed nine earned runs on 14 hits and four walks.
Also optioned out were right handers Jacob Turner and Jay Sborz. Turner, last year’s number one pick by Detroit, will begin his first pro season at West Michigan, the Tigers Low-A affiliate. Sborz, a former second round pick, was a late addition to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Sborz will be assigned to AAA Toledo, joining Galarraga.