With the rosters expanding today, the Tigers called up 6 players to help them down the stretch in September. While none of the players are likely to play a large role, a couple of them certainly are going to see some time. The six that joined the club are; Ryan Raburn, Bryan Holaday, Don Kelly, Danny Worth, Al Alburquerque, and Luis Marte. The only surprise that might have been left behind is lefty reliever Duane Below. Below however, lost out when Drew Smyly pitched well in his return, and was moved to long relief to finish the season.
Let’s take a look at their expected roles.
Raburn is likely to see time once his strained quad feels better, and will probably be in a matter of days. This is his time of year, and when a lefty toes the slab, he is likely to get some occasional starts in LF, while recently called up Avisail Garcia starts in RF.
I think this was the most obvious of call-ups today. Jim Leyland and company have shown an affinity for carrying a 3rd catcher in September, and it makes sense. It allows them some flexibility to pinch run for them late in a game, and not worry about the backup having to go out of a game with injury. Holaday is good enough defensively to handle the duties.
Let’s be honest. The only reason Don Kelly is on a big league club right now is that Jim Leyland is managing in the majors. I don’t think even Leyland plans on using Kelly much, if at all, but if he does, it’s likely to be as a pinch runner in the scenario I presented above.
Worth has always been about the glove. His role in September is likely to be no different. Worth will likely get some time at SS and 3B mainly because of Cabrera and his gimpy ankle. Worth is another guy who could be used as a pinch runner as well. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but it’s pretty good, and has smarts on the base paths.
We’ve seen that Marte can get big league hitters out, even if he did struggle a little bit earlier this year. I don’t see his arm getting used a ton, at least I don’t hope it does. If Marte is getting used a lot, that means the Tigers starters aren’t going as deep into games as they should be. Marte is going to be a 5th-7th inning situational guy, or a multiple inning guy in a blowout.
Alburquerque is coming back from arm issues that have held him out almost all year. His rehab seems to have gone well, and I see no reason why he, along with Brayan Villarreal, can’t get some high leverage innings down the stretch. He has strikeout ability, and that is going to be important in tight games. Plus, he throws so many sliders, with so much pressure on that elbow, that the Tigers should try and get as much as they can out of him before his next D.L. stint.