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Tigers' Kyle Ryan recalled, plans to 'attack'

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Kyle Ryan

Boston — The Tigers Sunday recalled left-hander Kyle Ryan and optioned first baseman Marc Krauss back to Triple-A Toledo.

"We just need some protection in the bullpen," manager Brad Ausmus said. "There is nothing else to read into it. Our bullpen has been spread thin this last week. We just need someone in case we need innings."

Still, there are circumstances that could keep this from being just a short-term move.

One is Shane Greene, who started on Sunday. Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones have both indicated this could be a make-or-break start for Greene in terms of staying in the rotation.

If Greene falters, there is a chance Ryan could take his place in the rotation, as he did when Greene was sent down earlier this season.

The other is Alfredo Simon's groin injury. If the Tigers think Simon's groin, which he strained Saturday, will cost him at least a start, Ryan would be here to fill that void.

Simon, though, said Sunday that he doesn't expect to miss a start.

"I don't think it's too bad," he said. "I was just walking around; it's going to be OK."

He said the only change he would make to his between-starts routine is to ride the stationary bike instead of running.

The not-so-small fly in the ointment here is that Ryan has continued to struggle after being sent to Toledo. In his three outings since being demoted, he has allowed 10 earned runs and 28 hits in 16-1/3 innings. His ERA is 5.58 with a 1.54 WHIP.

"He's had an up and down year down there," Jones said. "We were thinking because our bullpen's been used so much that we could use another arm. He was the guy we figured could give us the most innings."

Jones said Ryan needed to throw more strikes to get ahead of hitters and he needed to work down in the zone.

"When he keeps the ball down he gets lots of ground balls," Jones said. "Once he elevates and doesn't get on top of the ball, that's when he gets hurt."

Ryan last pitched on Wednesday

"Just throwing strikes," Ryan said when asked what he was working on in Toledo. "I had a hard time with that coming up here the last time. I need to throw that first pitch strike, the second strike and try to get the batter out in less than three pitches.

"Just attack; that's the name of the game for me."

Krauss back soon?

With Krauss gone, the Tigers don't have a true first baseman. Jefry Marte, a third baseman, will play against left-handers, and Alex Avila, a catcher, will play against right-handers.

"It's a possibility Krauss could come right back," Ausmus said. "Some of that will depend on what happens today with the bullpen, but it's certainly a possibility. He was the one true first baseman we had."

Krauss was hitting .152 with the Tigers (5 for 33).

Ausmus on Biggio

Ausmus was teammates with Craig Biggio for nine seasons in Houston. Needless to say, he was glued to the television when Biggio made his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday.

"I was happy for him," he said. "It's funny, everybody he mentioned I knew or have met — his brother, sister and obviously his wife and kids I knew real well. I know it was emotional for him."

Maybe a little for Ausmus, too?

"When you have a good friend you played with for such a long time who reaches the ultimate goal in the sport, yeah, it's pretty special," he said.

Ausmus on Cueto

Ausmus on the Royals acquiring Johnny Cueto Sunday: "Where the Royals are at, I certainly don't blame them for making a move to solidify their standing. It's a wise choice. Certainly it shows their fan base they are invested in the season."

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/cmccosky

On deck: Rays

Series: Three games, tonight-Wednesday, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. tonight-Tuesday; 12:10 p.m. Wednesday.

TV/radio: All games on FSD/97.1

Probables: Tonight – RHP Nathan Karns (5-5, 3.47) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (10-7, 4.59); Tuesday – RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 2.85) vs. LHP David Price (9-3, 2.31); Wednesday – RHP Chris Archer (9-7, 2.67) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (0-3, 5.57).

Scouting report

Karns, Rays: Two starts ago he was lit up by the Royals for seven runs in six innings, but he came back and threw five shutout innings against the Phillies in his last start. His best pitch is a knuckle curve, which he uses off his 93-mph four-seamer. Opponents are hitting under .200 on the season against his curve.

Sanchez, Tigers: The Tigers have won his last eight starts and he is 7-0 in those. Opponents over that stretch are hitting .218 against him with a .379 slugging percentage. There are still a couple of issues that continue to confound him. Right-handed hitters are hitting .278 with a .500 slugging percentage against him. Also, the home run ball. He's allowed a career-high 21 this season, including eight in his recent hot stretch.