Even as they deal with the stress of a 2014 playoff chase, which today includes taking on Indians starter Corey Kluber, the Tigers flirted with their future Sunday when they announced call-ups from the minor leagues a day before big-league rosters expand.
They will add seven players beginning Monday, and extending into Tuesday. The group includes two high-profile position players, outfielder Steven Moya and catcher James McCann, who will join the Tigers in time for today’s series opener against the Indians at Progressive Field.
Hernan Perez, a middle infielder who has had earlier stints with the Tigers, will also arrive Monday, as will outfielder Tyler Collins, who began the season with Detroit.
A pair of pitchers, Kyle Lobstein and Robbie Ray, each of whom has started games for the Tigers in 2014, will be added Tuesday, with Lobstein getting Tuesday’s start against the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco.
To make 40-man roster room for McCann, the Tigers moved pitcher Drew VerHagen to the emergency disabled list.
Moya is perhaps the most dynamic new addition, all because of the 35 home runs and 104 RBIs he hit at Double A Erie in 2014, each of which was a team record. He is a 6-foot-6, 232-pound left-handed batter whose strong suit was mentioned Sunday by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as the big attraction in bringing him aboard.
“Power,” said Ausmus, speaking of a prospect whose defense is also regarded as a plus.
McCann, whose bat became more of a weapon this season at Triple A Toledo, is a former top-round Tigers draft pick. He is expected to help at catcher as he auditions for what could be a part-time role with the Tigers in 2015.
The only noteworthy absence from Sunday’s group was left-handed reliever Ian Krol, who spent significant time with the Tigers in 2014 but did not make the cut a month after he was assigned to Toledo.
Rick Porcello is a renowned ground-ball pitcher whose bad luck Sunday was to have thought ground balls — or even fly balls — would be handled deftly.
His teammates had a bad day, making four official errors, and messing up in enough unofficial instances to have made the afternoon a bad experience for themselves, and for their starting pitcher.
Porcello, though, avoids any eye-rolls or sarcasm when a bullpen, or his fielders, happen to fail him and the Tigers’ collective mission. He instead points a finger or two at himself, as he did following Sunday’s debacle.
“On my end, I gave up a lot of hits,” said Porcello, who allowed 11 hits and six runs, only three of which were earned due to his defense’s misdeeds. “In baseball, there are experiences you pitch through. A game’s not always going to go smoothly.”
Porcello, of course, didn’t mention that one of those 11 hits was a dubiously awarded double by Adam Eaton that fell from the glove of left fielder J.D. Martinez. Neither did he mention that errors mean the enemy can bring more batters to the plate, and that more batters, and more pitches thrown in a particular inning, have a way of leading to more hits and runs.
Porcello instead viewed his own work as having been less than top-grade Sunday, even if he was pleased with his curveball and off-speed pitches.
Otherwise, he believed he was part of a day and an overall effort the Tigers preferred to stuff into a circular file, the sooner the better.
Miguel Cabrera sat out Sunday’s game and, as he has made clear will be the case with Cabrera for probably the remainder of this season, Ausmus could not say whether his No. 3 hitter would be in today’s lineup against Kluber.
“Day to day,” Ausmus repeated after Cabrera took a full breather. He had been forced from Saturday night’s game against the White Sox when his damaged right ankle sent him to the clubhouse in the fourth inning.
Don Kelly started at first base Sunday.