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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tigers add RHP Luke Putkonen after end of Triple-A season

While they'd already brought up Al Alburquerque and Luis Marte when the MLB rosters expanded over the weekend, the Detroit Tigers needed to wait two more days to bring up another reliever, Luke Putkonen.

"If he pitches good, he’s long, if he pitches bad, he’s short," manager Jim Leyland joked. "If he pitches real bad, he’s real short."

Procedurally, since Putkonen had been optioned out within the last 10 days, they had to wait for his minor league season to end at Triple-A Toledo to recall him. They did that Tuesday, adding the right-hander to a bullpen that's already got nine bodies.

"Putkonen is just another arm in the bullpen to help us out. He’s done fine. Unless it would be a long situation, he would not be the first guy I would go to. Hopefully, we’ve got enough weapons later in the game with (Al) Alburquerque, (Brayan) Villarreal, (Octavio) Dotel, (Joaquin) Benoit and (Jose) Valverde. If that’s not enough, then we don’t have enough," Leyland said.

"But he’s a pitcher that we felt did a good enough job, that earned the right to be back up here. And I would feel comfortable using him — knock on wood, you hope this don’t happen; but if something would happen with Ricky (Porcello) tonight, it would probably be (Drew) Smyly first, because he has so many left-hand hitters, but if it was a right-handed lineup, you might have him in there, along with (Luis) Marte. If something were to get out of hand, late in the game, you might be able to pitch him the last two innings of the game, to get by, so you don’t have to use some of your other guys."

A third-round pick of the Tigers in the 2007 draft, Putkonen has compiled an 0-2 record, a 6.25 ERA in 9 2/3 innings pitched, spread over seven appearances in two separate stints with the big league club.

"I like him. I think he’s a very good prospect, and I think he’s done OK," Leyland said.

He has struck out seven and walked seven of the 50 batters he's faced, compiling a 2.276 WHIP.

His stats at Toledo were in the good-but-not-exceptional category: 3-3, 56.2 IP, 4.92 ERA, 1.553 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 46K/20BB.


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