Houston — The clubhouse doors stayed closed for nearly 20 minutes after the Tigers lost to the Astros, 1-0, Friday night.
Manager Brad Ausmus and general manager Al Avila were in conversation. The topic — who to option back to Toledo to make room for right-hander Alex Wilson. What may have been a no-brainer earlier in the day, became a little tougher later.
Right-hander Buck Farmer pitched two spotless innings Friday. Six up, six down, three strikeouts.
“It was the best he’s looked,” Ausmus said. “He was very under control. When I say that, I mean his body. A lot of times he’ll fly off to the left side of the mound, but tonight everything was under control.”
Alas, Farmer got optioned out nevertheless.
“His performance caused some more discussion,” Ausmus said. “But the truth is, he probably wouldn’t have been available to pitch (Saturday).”
Wilson, perhaps the most reliable reliever the Tigers had last season, has worked his way back from right rotator cuff capsulitis. He had completed his rehab stint in Toledo and is expected to rejoin the club Saturday.
Farmer will be stretched out and pitch out of the Mud Hens starting rotation.
“It won’t hurt his development,” Ausmus said. “I think we will see him again this year.”
Farmer, naturally, was disappointed at being sent down, but he leaves with a lot more self-assurance that he can pitch in the big leagues.
“They just told me I was going to start down there and if they need either a starter or reliever down the stretch (he’d get the call),” he said. “I’ve done both. I’m just going to go down there and keep working.”