Paging John Bale
By John Parent
In the eighth inning of Detroit’s 6-2 win over the Yankees in Lakeland this afternoon, Tigers left hander Daniel Schlereth had to leave the game with a left hamstring injury. On a ground ball wide of first, Schlereth raced to cover the bag but came up lame and had to be helped from the field. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
Schlereth is slated to be the Tigers primary southpaw in the bullpen this year. The severity of what’s been called a strain for now won’t be known until the examination on Tuesday, so it’s probably not wise to speculate right now. We also still have over a month before the season opens. That said, what if this injury causes Schlereth to be behind schedule in getting ready for Opening Day?
Beyond Schlereth, the Tigers have only one left handed reliever on the 40-man roster in Aussie Brad Thomas. Thomas was anything but impressive in his first season with the Tigers in 2010 and is probably better used in a long relief/mop-up role this year. A pair of non-roster invitees could become much more viable options however.
Taiwanese hurler Fu-Te Ni had a very strong debut on Sunday and was very good in a brief stint with the Tigers in 2009. Ni tried to pitch through injury last year, however, and wound up with terrible numbers in Detroit before he was optioned to Toledo in 2010. Ni struggled with the Hens before being shut down for the season.
Veteran John Bale was signed to a minor league deal this winter and had a decent shot to make the club even before Schlereth went down. Bale has major league service time with a few clubs, most recently Kansas City. He has held left handed batters to a .238/.322/.325/.647 line in his career.
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