14 June 2012
Blisters seem like the silliest injuries for pitchers, where we usually think of elbow or shoulder damage, but they’re incredibly tough to deal with, especially when they’re as large as the one Drew Smyly developed during his last start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.
So Smyly and the Tigers have no choice but to let the finger blister rest and heal over before he can resume throwing. Detroit will make his DL stint retroactive to June 11, so he’ll be eligible to pitch again on June 26. Smyly’s immediate replacement in the rotation hasn’t been announced, but I think the hope is that Doug Fister will be feeling well enough with his side strain to be activated in time to pitch on Saturday.Ryan Raburn from Toledo to fill the vacant roster spot. Raburn, who spent some time on the DL due to a hamstring issue of his own while with the Mud Hens, hasn’t been hitting the ball particularly well (just .194/.272/.290), but he has three hits in three days since returning from his injury, including a home run last night.
I don’t think Tigers brass sees Raburn as any sort of grand solution to the team’s woes (either in general or at second base), and I’m doubting that this is even a permanent restoration for Raburn onto the 25-man roster. But with a pitcher hitting the DL, and being in a National League park for another day, it makes a lot of sense to have a guy like Raburn on the roster. He can play both outfield and second base, and he does have the potential to run into one (and a decent MLB track record, I’m still a believer in that).
Raburn doesn’t look like a great choice considering his MLB struggles this year, and that he hasn’t hit particularly well in the minors, but the only other 40-man roster position player options are Avisail Garcia and Hernan Perez. The Tigers used Perez in Cincinnati this past weekend for a couple of games, but that was while Raburn was on the DL in Toledo. Perez had one hit in two at-bats, but he’s been struggling to hit well in Lakeland (Advanced-A ball) this year (just a .245 average). And while Garcia has been hitting well in Lakeland (he has been named to the Florida State League Home Run Derby), he’s still has a lot of development to do before he could be reasonably expected to hit in the big leagues. In order to ad any other minor league player, the Tigers would need to cut a player from the 40-man roster – something they’re probably unwilling to do for just a few games of need, and there’s really no one else (besides Brad Eldred) that’s been an exceptional performer of late.
Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.