Detroit Tigers News

The Curious Case of Armando Galarraga

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Just when you would think the Tigers are about to be overflowing with starting pitchers, the floor falls out from under last year’s most dependable starter. Armando Galarraga began the year in Cy Young form, blistering the AL to the tune of 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his first four starts. When Justin Verlander was allowing an earned run per inning to begin this year, it was Galarraga and Edwin Jackson that held the rotation together. Now that Verlander has gone all Bob Gibson on us, and with Jackson continuing to provide Ace-like efforts, Galarraga has proven himself as the current weakest link. Rick Porcello has been very good of late, with four consecutive quality starts, and the return of Dontrelle Willis has moved former weakest link Zach Miner back to the ‘pen. This was to be the rotation that allowed Detroit to take their time bringing back Jeremy Bonderman from his rehab assignment. All of a sudden, with a string of increasingly poor starts, Galarraga is threatening to surrender his spot in that rotation. Kurt recently chronicled the woes of Galarraga, but came up with same questions that most of us have; What’s wrong with him and how much longer does he have to figure it out?

Bonderman is on his way back to the big leagues, he pitched well in his first rehab start for West Michigan and will have at least one more with Toledo. Bonderman says that’s all he will need and expects to be making his season debut within 10 days. That probably means one more start for Galarraga to right his ship. If he can’t, what do the Tigers do then? Ian wonders the same thing (as do many others), is he headed for the bullpen? I have been unable to come up with any information about his minor league options, but I believe he is without any, meaning the team would have to place him on waivers (where he would almost certainly be claimed) to send him down. The only other course of action would be a trip to the disabled list, but with the recent national scrutiny over the Tigers use of the DL with Willis, I would wonder how closely MLB would monitor the teams use of the DL with another strange ailment, such as a “tired arm”. This could potentially lead to either a logjam in the major league bullpen, or the loss of Galarraga to another organization very shortly.

All eyes are on you, Armando. Time to step it up.

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