A pair of Tigers pitching prospects got roughed up by the Baltimore Orioles today. Southpaw Charlie Furbush and right hander Al Alburquerque each allowed long home runs in their Grapefruit League action today.
Furbush entered the game with the Tigers leading 1-0, but by the time he had finished his two innings, the O’s had touched him up for three runs – all of them scoring on a bomb by Nolan Reimold. Furbush struggled with his control, walking two and falling behind frequently. It was the second straight shaky outing for the left hander and his spring ERA rose to a ghastly 11.25 in four innings of work.
Alburquerque saw similar command issues in his outing today. Unlike Furbush, however, command issues are part of what you will typically get from this hurler. Alburquerque walked a pair of batters and served up a moon-shot to Jake Fox, who kills the Tigers, before departing without finishing his inning. The two outs he recorded came via the strikeout, but the walks did him in. He has now walked four batters in 3.2 innings this spring.
There only figures to be one available bullpen spot up for grabs in camp this year and both Furbush and Alburquerque have been discussed as possibilities to win the job. But in the early spring action, a pair of arms that needed big springs have failed to live up to the challenge. We are only a week into Grapefruit League action, but the early favorites have to be Robbie Weinhardt and Fu-Te Ni right now, just based on the results those two have gotten so far.
With the first roster cuts rapidly approaching, time is running short for the guys who haven’t gotten the job done thus far. Furbush and Alburquerque may very well see action with the Tigers this year, but unless something changes quickly, neither will have a shot to break camp with the club.
Highlights of the 6-2 defeat
The Tigers gave almost all of their regulars the day off today with a pair of split squad games coming tomorrow. Detroit took an early lead on a Brennan Boesch RBI single and added their second (and final) run on a Ryan Strieby solo shot in the ninth. Casper Wells reached base twice on a single and a walk.
On the pitching side, closer Jose Valverde worked a clean frame with one strikeout while starter Rick Porcello allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings. Brad Thomas matched Valverde’s outing and Ni, who entered the game to bail out Alburquerque, finished up with 1.1 innings of perfect relief.