Following the game this afternoon, one in which the Twins bested the Tigers to extend the division lead back to 1.5 games, the Detroit Tigers announced that they have optioned LH reliever Fu-Te Ni to AAA Toledo. The team will wait until Friday to make a corresponding roster move.
Ni has been struggling a great deal lately, walking 19 batters in just 22 innings this season including six in his last 1.1 innings covering two appearances. In addition to that, his 6.65 ERA is compounded by his struggles versus LH batters. Ni held lefties to a .113 average last season, but they were hitting him at a .306 clip so far this year.
In short, this is a move that was long overdue. (more after the jump)
The Tigers have used three lefties in the bullpen all year to this point, with Ni often pitching in low-leverage situations. If they decide to keep that mix, the likely call-up will be Daniel Schlereth, who has posted 44 strikeouts in 34 minor league innings this year. Of course he has also walked 26, which is far too many.
Another option would be RH Robbie Weinhardt. With Jay Sborz ineligible to return until he has spent a minimum of 10 days on assignment, Weinhardt would be the most logical move should they go with another right hander to help offset the loss of Joel Zumaya.
The most likely scenario, I would have assumed, is that Ryan Perry would be activated from his rehab assignment and returned to the big league bullpen. Perry has been pitching in Toledo with varying degrees of success and he may not be quite ready to return as of yet, but I wonder how many outings a short reliever really needs.
According to Jason Beck, Jim Leyland says Perry will not be the guy to come up. Leyland says there is nothing wrong with Perry’s health at this point, but he’s worried about command. “He’s rusty.”
So that leaves us again with Schlereth or Weinhardt as the favorites to join the Tigers on Friday.