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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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

With exception of the givens, Tigers aren't tipping hand on who might get called up in September

DETROIT — Reinforcements will be coming. Just not in a group, and not right away.

The Tigers have settled on who they plan to call up Sunday, when rosters expand for September, but they aren’t letting on who that might be, just yet.

“No, I think they’ve been settled. But I think the reason we’re not going to have any announcement is because they’re going to be spaced (out),” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Thursday morning.

“We’re going to bring some guys up. Do we know who they are? Yes, we know who they are. Will we announce anything? No, we’re not going to announce anything, because they’re going to be spaced out.

“There’s some different technicalities involved, but we will have some call-ups as soon as Dave (Dombrowski, the general manager) ... decides to announce it, we will.

“If I had the authority to give you the names, I’d give you the names. But I do not, as of now.”

There are some givens.

Optioned out Wednesday night to allow the Tigers to get reinforcement for an overtaxed bullpen, in the form of Luke Putkonen, the Tigers have said Jose Alvarez will be back at the conclusion of the Triple-A season.

Same for catcher Bryan Holaday, who was sent down to make room for Alex Avila’s return from the concussion disabled list.

Ditto for Phil Coke, who was sent to Toledo on Aug. 21, to allow him to work out his control issues.

Other than that, it’s anyone’s guess.

In any year, Leyland’s not a big fan of bringing up a bunch of call-ups, who will crowd up the locker room.

That’s especially true in a pennant race.

Last year, they called up six, four of whom — Holaday, Ryan Raburn, Don Kelly and Danny Worth — had been with the team for large portions of the regular season.

“Well, it’s no different. In our case, you might have an extra pitcher, to give us a little more versatility in the bullpen,” Leyland said. “You might have an extra player, in our case, because we’ve got to run for Cabrera or something. Nothing sophisticated about it. It is what it is.”

Some of the relievers who could be back, in addition to Alvarez and Putkonen: Jose Ortega, Evan Reed and Darin Downs. Octavio Dotel, who is on an injury rehab assignment, could also be added, whenever he’s ready.

Infielder Hernan Perez is a probable, while Worth is a possible. Both give defensive flexibility.

The team’s top prospect, Nick Castellanos, is a more ticklish situation, since he’d have to be added to the 40-man roster before he could be added to the active roster. The Tigers currently have 39 spots filled, leaving one open, but that would be filled if and when Dotel returns. In that case, the Tigers would have to designate someone for assignment to clear room for Castellanos.

They’ve already lost two players — Quintin Berry and Duane Below — to 40-man roster maneuvers this season.

There’s also the matter of making sure that they could get everyone they want on the playoff roster, should they make it there.

A player is only eligible for postseason play if they’re on the big-league roster prior to Sept. 1, with some exceptions.

One is the rule that allows any player on the 60-day disabled list as of Aug. 31 to be replaced by any other player in the organization at that date, for the purpose of postseason eligibility. The Tigers have one player — Dotel — who could be substituted for in that fashion, and another player — Luis Marte — who could be moved to the 60-day DL to give them another slot.

Unless the Tigers don’t ever recall Dotel, there’s the probability that only one of the September call-ups would be eligible for postseason play.


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