The Detroit Tigers aren’t wasting any time in taking advantage of the expanded rosters offered by the season’s final month. As expected, right handed pitcher Jacob Turner was recalled today to make the start in the series finale with the Kansas City Royals. Turner will be making his second career start and trying to match his effort from late July when he held the Angels to three hits and two runs over 5.1 innings.
Turner is bringing a handful of teammates with him up I-75 from Toledo. Joining Turner as September call-ups are second baseman Will Rhymes and outfielder Andy Dirks. The Tigers have also re-instated second baseman Carlos Guillen from the 15-day disabled list, he had been rehabbing with the Mud Hens as well. In addition to those recalled, the club has purchased the contract of right handed reliever Luis Marte from Double-A Erie.
This is just the first round of call-ups that we can expect. Infielder Danny Worth and catcher Omir Santos will both likely be recalled once they are eligible. A player must remain on optional assignment for 14 days (unless replacing an injured player), so Santos isn’t eligible for recall until September 9 and Worth isn’t eligible until September 11.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland stated yesterday that Turner would remain with the club through the end of the season, but he has no immediate plans to use the young hurler beyond this afternoon. Turner is serving as an insurance policy in case of a rain-out, so the team doesn’t face the same challenges they did in 2009, when Alfredo Figaro was recalled very late in the season, long after he had gone home for the off-season, to make a crucial spot start against the White Sox. Figaro hadn’t thrown in a couple of weeks at least when he made that start and, predictably, it didn’t go well. By keeping Turner under their watchful eye, the Tigers can keep him fresh with bullpen sessions and simulated games in case he is needed down the stretch.
The most interesting thing will be how Leyland handles the return of Guillen. Ramon Santiago has been on fire of late and is a much better defender than Guillen at second base. With Brennan Boesch still nursing a sore thumb, we can expect Ryan Raburn to see more time in right field, which will free up at bats for Guillen at second. It is my hope that Leyland will continue to ride Santiago’s hot hand, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
While Rhymes will likely be relegated to pinch-runner duty, Marte could earn himself some significant innings in the Tigers’ bullpen. The 25-year-old right hander struck out 68 batters in 53 innings at Erie this year, posting a sparkling 1.70 ERA. In 129 minor league appearances, Marte has averaged three walks per nine innings and almost a strikeout per inning as well.
**UPDATE** My earlier information was inaccurate. An optioned player must spend 10 days on assignment, not 14. Santos would be eligible to be recalled on 9/5, and Worth eligible on 9/7. Danny Knobler explains in his piece today.