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Tigers send down right-hander Buck Farmer

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — As soon as the disappointment wears off, right-hander Buck Farmer is going to realize he’s made himself a valuable commodity in the Tigers organization.

Farmer was optioned to Triple-A Toledo Thursday morning, but between his short stint last season and his work this spring, he made a lasting impression.

“We think he has a very bright future,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s quite a bit ahead of schedule if you look at his career path.”

Farmer is 24. Last year he started in Class A and was pitching for the Tigers in September.

“For him to go down and develop a little further isn’t a bad thing,” Ausmus said. “I know it’s disappointing to be sent to the minor leagues. But in a broader point of view, it is probably best.”

Intellectually, Farmer may understand that, but immediately after getting the news, his heart wasn’t ready to accept it.

“I didn’t really know it was going to happen,” he said. “It’s just tough to come in here as a starter and switch to reliever. It’s just one of those things that happens. I know there were some outings I could have been a lot better, but for my first time pitching out of the bullpen full-time, I thought I threw the ball well.”

Farmer will now be stretched out and pitch in the starting rotation in Toledo.

“There’s no real preference for me,” he said. “Whatever keeps me here is where I’ll play.”

Farmer said he didn’t think he’d have any mental letdown going to the minor league side.

“It’s a new day over there,” he said. “I’ll go right into it. The hardest part is adjusting, getting back to throwing 50 or 60 pitches instead of 12.”

The Tigers also sent right-hander Rafael Dolis to the minor league camp, his actual destination has yet to be determined.

“He’s actually got great stuff,” Ausmus said. “He has a lot of movement on his fastball, throws in the mid-90s with a good split. I guess he’s depth but to me, we were really considering him for a while.”

Dolis’ fate may have been sealed with his rocky outing against the Yankees in Tampa Tuesday. He gave up a game-winning three-run home run in the ninth.

“His track record says his biggest issue is command,” Ausmus said. “But a lot of these guys, as they get older, they rein in their command and if the stuff is the same, they become very good.”

There are 37 players still in camp.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky