Tigers will add useful 'handful' Saturday, including Alburquerque
“I think we got the people who will serve a purpose,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “There will be nobody that’s called up just to watch a big-league game.”
In addition to Avisail Garcia, the Tigers noted Friday that among the “handful” of players they’ll call up to flesh out the roster this weekend will be reliever Al Alburquerque, who’s missed the entire season to date, after offseason elbow surgery.
Since the Tigers optioned him to Triple-A Toledo after his rehabilitation assignment ran out, Alburquerque won’t be eligible to be added to the active roster until Sunday, 10 days after his option.
But he’ll be useful to a bullpen that’s had its warts.
“Well, it’s like making a big trade acquisition to me. He is throwing the ball very well. All reports are he’s throwing the ball like he did last year at this time,” Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said. “It’s not like I’m sitting back saying that he needs to reach that point with the injury rehab and the build-back time, he is throwing his fastball consistently mid-90s up and his good slider. So he’s a big addition for us.”
Other than that, the Tigers remained mum on the remainder of the additions, although bringing up Toledo catcher Bryan Holaday has been a foregone conclusion for weeks. The rest were supposed to be notified after the completion of Friday’s games.
But Leyland has been adamant that he doesn’t like his locker room cluttered up with extra bodies, and he doesn’t see a lot of use in adding players who are just in the big leagues to soak in the atmosphere.
At least not in the situation the Tigers are in now.
Leyland has had a different attitude in years when he’s piloted a team that was out of contention.
“We had conversations, just to get them acclimated a little bit, but that’s when we were about 20 games out. That made it a little different scenario. We want the people we’re calling up to have a purpose. They all do,” the manager said.
“Yeah, I think there’s some value to it, if you can work them out in a major league stadium, get them used to the environment of it. Yeah, I think there’s some value to it. But I wouldn’t want to do it in the situation we’re in, because the stakes are too high right now. That’ when I was in Pittsburgh, and we were out of it, and we brought up a few kids, just to work them out, get a better look at them, get a better feel for them, get to know them a little bit, going into the next year’s camp. Maybe one of them or so might make the team, stuff like that.
“But not at this point, not with our situation. We’re not going to do that.”