Friday, July 01, 2011

Alburquerque to the DL, Oliveros Promoted

Earlier tonight it was reported by Bless You Boys via various Twitter sources that the Tigers would be promoting reliever Lester Oliveros to the majors tomorrow.  That rumor has now been confirmed by Jason Beck.  It turns out the reason for the move is bad news.  The amazing Al Alburquerque has been placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.  That probably explains why he had nothing in his 42-pitch outing last night. 

It's been a busy couple of days for the Tigers.  Prior to these moves, they optioned lefty reliever Daniel Schlereth to Toledo and recalled right-handed reliever Brayan Villareal from the same club.  Next, they announced that the struggling Phil Coke would be moved to the bullpen and rookie southpaw Charlie Furbush would take his spot in the rotation. 

The role swap of Coke and Furbush is worth trying given that Coke has allowed four or more runs and has not gone past the fifth inning in four of his last five starts.  Furbush might not do any better, but has pitched well as a long man out of the bullpen for the Tigers.  He also excelled as a starter in the minors despite not having an overpowering arsenal.  Coke will probably be the seventh inning reliever setting up Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde.

The transaction with the biggest impact will probably be the loss of Alburquerque, who has been an outstanding middle reliever for the Tigers this year.  His magic slider and 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings will be missed.  Hopefully, it will only be a short-term thing, but "elbow inflammation" for a pitcher with a history of injuries isn't a good thing.   

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