February 28, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Luis Marte (49) poses for photo day in the rec room at the Detroit Tigers headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Luis Marte Starts His Road Back

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Tigers reliever Luis Martegot his start on the road back to the big league roster tonight in Lakeland, pitching two strong innings for the Flying Tigers to start the game. Marte only gave up one hit in his two innings of work, while he struck out three batters, and generated two outs on ground balls.

Marte, who can spend 30 days in the minors on a rehab assignment, might be needed long before that. I am sure the Tigers will want to make sure that Marte can go out multiple times and get him in pitching shape before he comes back, but the Tigers do appear to need him.

Marte, who was essentially the last reliever to make the roster out camp, now looks to be a key piece in a bullpen that has struggled without him. Right-handers; Luke Putkonen, Brayan Villarreal, and Colin Balester have failed to impress anybody, struggling to get outs with any consistency, leaving an opportunity for Marte when he is ready physically to come back for good.

The one thing we should caution about Marte is that he has yet to prove anything himself. He really only had a cup of coffee with the Tigers at the end of last year, and despite being impressive, it’s not really much of a track record. His impressive performance during the spring, not only won Marte a job, it seemingly won him a lot of favor with Tigers fans, including this writer. Marte won the job by pitching, not by being a thrower.

I imagine that it will be a couple of weeks before we see Marte putting on a Tigers uniform, and as far as I am concerned, it can’t be soon enough. He could potentially be a big help to a struggling pen.

Minor League Notes:

Lakeland lost the game tonight, however, the dynamic trio of Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, and Tyler Collins, all paced the offense with 2 hits apiece. Garcia tripled, and Collins hit his 2nd home run of the season.

West Michigan won it’s game tonight behind a strong pitching performance by Wilsen Palacios. Palacios went 7 innings, and allowed only 2 runs while striking out five. Dean Green paced the offense with 3 hits and 2 RBI.

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Tags: Brayan Villarreal Colin Balester Detroit Tigers Luis Marte Luke Putkonen

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