Lynn Henning set the Tigers corner of Twitter on its ear with a cryptic tweet this morning.
Shortly thereafter, with Tigers fans seemingly ready to leap from the edge of the Ambassador Bridge, the news began to filter 0ut of the Tigers clubhouse. Ramon Santiago, whom had been slated to start at second base versus Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore, was sent home with an illness and Danny Worth will be making the start in his stead this afternoon.
That was apparently the big news this morning, or at least the news that had front office members, trainers, and the manager scrambling. The flu seems to be traveling through the Tigers clubhouse, with Max Scherzer and Alex Avila also affected. Scherzer was sent home to rest.
That certainly isn’t the worst news one could have imagined, especially given the recent injury to Doug Fister. According to Matthew Mowery of the Oakland Press, Henning’s tweet of impending doom summed up the feeling in the clubhouse from all the media, who were left in the dark for a time.
Other, more pertinent, news to emerge is that Scherzer’s scheduled Saturday start will be bumped up to Friday as he will slide into Fister’s vacated slot in the rotation. The man getting the call Saturday will be left hander Adam Wilk, in a somewhat surprising move. Considering how poorly Andy Oliver and Casey Crosby performed in their first starts with Toledo this past week, it shouldn’t be a shock, but the Tigers certainly could have opted to go with Duane Below instead, who has been very good in two appearances out of Detroit’s bullpen thus far.
Interesting that Wilk would make the start on Saturday, as that is the day that Brandon Inge is eligible to return from the disabled list. Inge will travel to Toledo to join the Mud Hens tonight where he will serve as the Designated Hitter. He’ll begin play as the second baseman on Wednesday.
My guess here is that Inge will certainly be healthy enough to be activated when eligible, but the Tigers may wait a day to bring him back after Wilk makes his start. In doing so, Detroit could activate Inge without having to make a decision on which position player will get bumped by his return, at least for a few more days. Wilk could instead be optioned back to Toledo to make room for Inge.
Of course, the Tigers will still have to make a move ahead of Wilk’s start to get him onto the roster. They could go a man short on the bench and demote whichever player would be demoted when Inge is activated (probably Worth), or they could option a reliever such as Brayan Villarreal. If they send out a reliever, however, that pitcher must stay on optional assignment for at least 10 days.
Each season present a revolving door of players shuttling between Detroit and Toledo as needs demand. This season has already seen injuries to Luis Marte, Inge, and Fister and the constant moving parts used to replace them while taking advantage of the flexibility the early season schedule allows.
Whether it be Worth or someone else that is optioned out to make room for Wilk, we won’t have seen the last of them. Very likely, we will see someone else take Fister’s next turn, if only to continue to audition all viable options for the club’s sixth starter.
John Parent is the NL Editorial Director for FanSided MLB and a lifelong Tigers fan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @JohnJParent.