Furbush, Alburquerque Pitching Their Way Out of Camp

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.

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Tags: Al Alburquerque Baltimore Orioles Charlie Furbush Detroit Tigers Fu-Te Ni Robbie Weinhardt

  • http://sidelionreport.com/ Zac Snyder

    Al Albuquerque has led to a lot head scratching with me since the day he signed. I didn’t understand why the Tigers signed him to a major league contract despite never pitching above AA. I can’t see how this was anything but a wild flier.

    • jayrc

      Albuquerque makes a ton of sense, he has a live arm with a decent amount of upside. He also came cheap. Scouts and analysts rave about him so i’m inclined to have a little hope.
      He was a long shot to make the team and I believe everyone saw him as an insurance policy from day one.

      However, both times I’ve seen him this spring…ITS BEEN UGLY!

      • stephengrosberg

        I usually agree with you, JAYRC, but this time, in my opinion, Alburquerque is taking time from Wilk and Villarreal as is Furbush. That’s the trouble with fillers. The Tigers have enough depth to forget about signing new names. They better make time for the most promising as they appear like Cole Nelson, Drew Smyly, Chance Ruffin, and Alex Burgos. Fillers manage to worm their way in because a scout wants to make a name for himself. Give the Draft Guys better promoting opportunities.

        • jayrc

          We would be cheating ourselves if we converted Wilk, Villarreal or Furbush to the bullpen.
          Our farm system is paper thin in the starting pitcher department. We need the depth Stephen.
          I am very excited to watch Smyly, Ruffin and Nelson develop this season.

  • Chris Hannum

    I agree with Zac, Alburquerque makes a lot of sense as minor-league depth for a team that’s worried about injuries in the ‘pen. But he’s here, presumably, as a front-runner for that last spot in the bullpen. Furbush was pretty much guaranteed to start the season in AAA barring injury, I think, so I don’t see this as a concern (even for his career). He’s still going to be a guy in the picture if a starter goes on the DL in midsummer.

  • stephengrosberg

    Wilk and Villarreal Vs. the 2 mentioned, NO comparison. Now maybe they’ll get more work and Furbush and Alburquerque less. Mark them earlier, Tigers. Now you all know that 100% Strieby IS a hitter.

  • stephengrosberg

    The last spot should be Wilk or Villarreal. More work will prove it. With Zumaya out, you may need 2 spots.