Seattle – It was back in May. Tom Gorzelanny was doing some flat-ground throwing in the outfield and pitching coach Jeff Jones, out of nowhere, asked him if he'd ever tried lowering his arm angle.
"He said he's messed around with it," Jones said. "He dropped his arm angle for a couple of pitches and it was good."
As Gorzelanny continued to struggle into June, he made the switch to a more sidearm delivery. The problem was, the only time he was getting to work on it was in games – and that was a sub-optimal way to make the transition.
After being designated for assignment last week, the Tigers were hopeful he would stay in the organization if he cleared waivers. That has happened. Gorzelanny has accepted and was out-righted to Triple-A Toledo.
"I think if he goes down there, gets used to it and gets confident with it, that success could end up extending his career," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I've seen other guys do that."
Most recently, Gorzelanny's former teammate Zach Duke made the same transition. He signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the White Sox before this season.
"We think this is something where he can go down there and work on the new delivery and have a chance to really help us down the stretch," Jones said.
Utility infielder Josh Wilson, designated for assignment Tuesday, has also cleared waivers and was outrighted to Toledo.
Joba Chamberlain, DFA's the same day as Gorzelanny, is expected to remain a free agent.
With Kyle Ryan being sent to Toledo after the game Tuesday, the Tigers are uncertain who will start Sunday against the Twins.
Ausmus said one option was right-hander Buck Farmer, who arrived in Seattle just a couple of hours before game time. Another is Shane Greene, who was scheduled to start for Toledo Wednesday.
Ausmus also said Ryan would remain in the starting rotation in Toledo and not work out of the bullpen.
ON DECK: TWINS
Series: Four games at Target Field.
First pitch: 8:10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 4:10 p.m. Saturday, 2:10 p.m. Sunday.
TV/radio: Friday-Sunday, FSD, 1270, 97.1.
Probables: Thursday – RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-5, 3.94) vs. LHP David Price (8-2, 2.54); Friday – RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 2.25) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (0-2, 6.75); Saturday – RHP Phil Hughes (7-6, 4.19) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (8-5, 4.18); Sunday – RHP Kyle Gibson (7-6, 3.04) vs. TBA.
Pelfrey, Twins: After a strong start – he checked the Tigers on three hits and a run in April, Pelfrey has scuffled. In his last three starts, covering 12.2 innings, he has allowed 14 runs, 26 hits and nine walks. Opponents are hitting .433 against him with a 1.033 OPS.
Price, Tigers: The Tigers are 14-3 when Price starts and since June, he is 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA, with 44 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. Over that stretch he's used his four-seam fastball less (from 44 percent to 24 percent), and his sinker (from 14 percent to 28 percent) and changeup (from 18 to 24) more.