Blogs > Out of Left Field

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, May 22, 2012

Tigers DFA Balester, purchase contract of OF Berry

The Tigers finally got to the breaking point after playing five straight games with a two-man bench, making a move late Tuesday to get back to the proper ratio of position players (12) and pitchers (13).

Unfortunately, that meant sending out a pitcher, and the Tigers chose to designate Collin Balester for assignment after Tuesday's game, allowing them a spot on the active roster to purchase the contract of outfielder Quintin Berry from the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens.

Acquired in an offseason trade for disappointing former first-round pick Ryan Perry, the Tigers will have 10 days to return Balester to the 40-man roster, place him on waivers, trade him or release him.

Balester was unspectacular in 11 appearances for the Tigers, giving up 14 runs (13 earned) in 18 innings of work (6.50 ERA), including five home runs — the most of any non-starter on the roster.

By contrast, Perry has allowed eight earned runs in 6 2/3 innings pitched, sporting a WHIP of 1.80 and allowing opponents to hit a whopping .357.

Neither side appears to have come out on top in that one.

Berry was a non-roster invitee to spring training for the Tigers, and impressed with his speed and outfield defense — something that the Tigers have in short supply. That lack is particularly glaring with center fielder Austin Jackson unavailable for the fifth straight game, shelved by an abdominal strain.

The 27-year-old career minor leaguer was hitting .270 for the Toledo Mud Hens, with 19 stolen bases. Tigers manager Jim Leyland confirmed after Tuesday's game that Berry will be in the lineup Wednesday, making his big-league debut.

The need for Berry, though, indicates that Jackson's ailment may be more serious that originally thought. Having suffered through a similar injury last year — which "took a minute" to get right, according to the outfielder — Jackson tried to test the strain with some light swinging in the batting cage and running on Saturday. The running did not go as well as he would have liked, he said Sunday.

"It actually felt fine in the cage, hitting, with just some light swings, but when I went to run, you know, try to get up to 80 percent at least, it didn’t feel that good," Jackson said. "It was still kind of hurting to run, so that’s why I’m thinking maybe a couple more days ... to get that soreness out, to where I’m able to run freely without any pain."

If it continues to linger, the Tigers could eventually have to place him on the 15-day disabled list, but they could back-date it to last Thursday, the day after he left the game following an awkward, painful swing of the bat.

If he should miss any extended time, it will continue to hamstring an offense that — while inconsistent at best so far this season — has not had to worry about its leadoff hitter. As of Tuesday night, he ranked top 10 in the American League in average (4th, .331), runs (t6th, 29), on-base percentage (3rd, .414), slugging percentage (8th, .544) and OPS (6th, .958). He leads the team in all those categories, as well.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home