Tigers might make Alex Wilson a starter
Detroit – With Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon both struggling at the back end of the Tigers' rotation, manager Brad Ausmus and his staff have kicked around the idea of converting right-handed reliever Alex Wilson to a starter.
"It has been discussed briefly," Ausmus said. "I won't say that it's not a possibility. There's a little bit of a risk taking a guy that's had success in one role, and putting him in a completely different role.
"But it has been discussed."
Wilson has been a multi-dimensional rock in the Tigers pen. He's pitched in every inning and in every situation, including one emergency start. In 34 games, he has a 1.99 ERA with a 1.027 WHIP.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. Simon and Greene have each allowed four or more runs in six straight starts. Both, though, are scheduled to pitch against Boston in the next series.
Wilson is willing, but wary of the potential role change.
"At this point, this stage in the game, I don't think it would be a smart decision," Wilson told Jeff Riger from 97.1. "But, that being said, stranger things have happened. And I'll do whatever I'm told to do, to help this team win. That's what I'm here for."
Ausmus said he is stretched out up to four innings, depending on how the pitch count goes, right now.
"As far as getting stretched out, it would probably take, it's going to take a month," Wilson said. "I can go 50-60 pitches right now, but to get it into that 90-100 range, it takes time. And it takes more than time, it takes off days. That's the biggest thing, getting that rest in between."
Whether the Tigers transition Wilson to the rotation will likely depend on what happens before the July 31 trade deadline. If the Tigers decide to trade David Price, then adding Wilson to the rotation would seem more viable.
Right now, the Tigers need every capable arm they have in the bullpen.
Baseball players, in particular late-inning relievers, are trained to let go of the past – the quicker the better.
Before the game Wednesday, Neftali Feliz talked about the disastrous five-run eighth inning Tuesday night, but he'd already put it behind him.
"I feel bad in the moment when I lose the game," he said. "To lose it after the team came back like that, it's tough. But today is a new day. I need to come in 100 percent today and do my best."
Feliz hadn't allowed a run in his first three outings with the Tigers and he was hitting 96 and 97 mph with his fastball Tuesday night. But, the Mariners beat him around, capped by Franklin Gutierrez's pinch-hit grand slam.
"I miss a couple of pitches. It happens," he said. "Today is a new day. I've got to keep my head high and continue to play baseball and do my best every time I go to the mound."
A bad short-term memory is a pitcher's best friend.
"I just have to continue to play," he said. "I've been doing this a long time, been pitching six, seven years. Some things that are good you try to keep inside. Some things that are bad, throw away. I just have to continue to work and next time be better."
There is no medical update on Miguel Cabrera. He continues to take treatment on his injured calf. He's not expected back until the middle of August. He was in the clubhouse before the game Wednesday and Ausmus said he will travel with the team during its upcoming trip to Boston, Tampa and Baltimore. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand wanted Cabrera to travel so he can continue to supervise his treatment sessions.
... The Tigers have set their pitching rotation for the Boston series: It will be Justin Verlander Friday, Simon Saturday and Greene Sunday. According to the Red Sox website, Rick Porcello will start Friday – Verlander vs. Porcello.
... Jose Iglesias, who had been battling flu-like symptoms, was back in the starting lineup.