Sunday, April 01, 2012

Smyly is 5th Starter, Villareal and Below Optioned

The Tigers told left hander Drew Smyly this morning that he will be the team's fifth starter.   Since they won't need a fifth starter until April 12 versus the Rays, Smyly will make one start at Triple-A Toledo before he is added to the roster.

The Tigers also announced that pitchers Duane Below and Brayan Villarreal have been optioned to Toledo.  This means that right hander Luis Marte go north as the final reliever.  So, the opening day pitching staff is set:

Justin Verlander
Doug Fister
Max Scherzer
Rick Porcello
Drew Smyly (added on April 12)

Jose Valverde
Joaquin Benoit
Octavio Dotel
Phil Coke
Daniel Schlereth
Collin Balester
Luis Marte

With Smyly opening the season in Toledo, the Tigers will carry an extra position player  for the first seven days.  Thus, they will drop one of four players - outfielders Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas and infielders Brandon Inge and Danny Worth.  There is no reason to have all of Inge, Worth and Ramon Santiago on the team even for one week, so I'm guessing either Inge or Worth is cut.  Inge is currently recovering from a strained groin, so they may delay any decision on him further by putting him on the disabled list.

All of the above means that both Dirks and Thomas will probably be on the team for the first week.  Assuming they keep Dirks beyond that, they will then have to make a decision on Thomas.  He is out of options and must clear waivers in order for the Tigers to keep him in the organization.  The thinking may be that it would be easier to get him through waivers after the season starts and other team's rosters are settled.   

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