Brad Thomas Update
By John Parent
Rehabbing southpaw Brad Thomas turned in a 1-2-3 eighth inning in today’s 7-2 win for Toledo over Louisville. Included in his inning was a pair of strikeouts, both coming against left handed batters in Juan Francisco and Yonder Alonso.
John Wagner of the Toledo Blade (who does an outstanding job with ‘Hens coverage) has the post-game notes including an update on Thomas’ schedule via Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin.
"“Any time you can go to a big-league guy in a set-up spot, that’s a nice luxury to have,” Nevin said of Thomas. “I would have felt good with [Matt Hoffman] in that role with the two left-handers coming up, but this worked out well. He threw the ball very well.”Nevin said that Thomas will throw another inning Tuesday when the Mud Hens play in Columbus, and that his status will be determined after Tuesday’s work."
Thomas went sent to the disabled list on May 11 with fluid in his elbow. The stint was expected to be a short one, but despite the lack of pain associated with the build up, the swelling wouldn’t allow him to extend his arm fully. He finally began a rehab assignment in mid-June.
In six games with the Hens so far during his rehab, Thomas has impressed by tossing nine innings of two run ball. He’s fanned nine batters during that time, but also allowed seven hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen. This is a marked improvement over the version of Thomas that was getting knocked around for the Tigers earlier this year, however.
Whether or not the ineffectiveness can be chalked up to injury, Thomas’ struggles in Detroit lead to many folks wondering if he would ever make it back to the Tigers bullpen, or if the team would simply release him once he was again healthy. In 11 innings for the big club this year, Thomas allowed 12 runs (11 earned) on 17 hits, six walks, a hit batter, and seven strikeouts. Now, the Australian-born lefty has perhaps one more outing left to determine the Tigers course of action. Thomas is out of options, so keeping him in the minor leagues will only happen if he passes through waivers first.
If the Tigers choose to bring him back to Detroit, the likeliest candidate to be demoted is Daniel Schlereth. The Tigers are already operating with probably one too many left handers in the bullpen and Charlie Furbush has been used in long relief of late (the role Thomas had filled prior to getting hurt), but Furbush has shown himself more valuable than Schlereth.
Even if Thomas is healthy enough to pitch the way he has in Toledo, I can’t make a good argument that he’s a better option than Schlereth or Furbush, or Adam Wilk in the Tigers ‘pen. In fact, a case could be made that Thomas should be behind six or seven guys on the organizational depth chart. To me, it’s just time to move on.
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