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Tigers Shuffle Starters, Armando Galarraga Recalled


Meet the new pitcher, same as the old pitcher.

The Tigers today recalled starting pitcher Armando Galarraga from AAA Toledo. In his place, they have optioned the contract of Left hander Andy Oliver.

Oliver made all of five starts for the Tigers, the last three were disastrous. After holding the Braves to two earned over six innings, he allowed five runs to the Twins in his second start, only two were earned there as well. In his last three outings, however, Oliver failed to survive the fifth inning in any of them, totaling just 10 innings and getting knocked around to the tune of 14 earned runs on 13 hits and 10 walks.

Oliver looks like he has the stuff to someday be a rotation staple for Detroit, but in just his first season of pro ball, that day isn’t coming in 2010. (…)

So the Tigers shuffled the deck again and turned back to Galarraga. Look, June 2 happened. We saw it, we know it was a perfect game. We also saw the same Galarraga in his last six starts that we saw in 2009. He has managed just two quality starts since that game (the same number that Oliver achieved). He’s got a 5.61 ERA since the perfect game that wasn’t. He’s not the answer.

The sad thing is, I’m relatively certain that the Tigers brass knows that Galarraga is not the answer, they just don’t have anyone else that’s better right now.

And this team wants to contend?

Galarraga needs to pitch well on Tuesday. He needs to show that his recent demotion was as unwarranted as he felt it was. He needs to show the Tigers he can, and will, pitch like he did in 2008, not 2009 or beyond (save one start in June). More importantly for the Tigers, however, he needs to pitch well so that Dave Dombrowski can use him as the ML-ready portion of any potential deal for Dan Haren.

The Diamondbacks want a ton in return for their ace, and while it’s easy to assume the Tigers could part ways with Oliver or  Jacob Turner, or some other young fireballer, Arizona will want a major league piece as well; someone to buy them some time until the kids are ready to play in the desert. If Galarraga can go out there and shut down his old Rangers club on Tuesday, perhaps Dombrowski can pull the wool over yet another D-backs GM and steal another trade with the snakes.

Apart from that, Galarraga’s only taking up space in Detroit, and this team won’t win anything by sending him out to the mound every fifth day.