Houston – Toledo manager Lloyd McClendon and pitching coach Jeff Pico are getting a couple of talented additions to their starting rotation.
Both right-hander Buck Farmer, who was optioned by the Tigers Friday night, and left-hander Daniel Norris are headed to Toledo.
Norris (back) is still working through his injury rehab assignment. He made two starts at Class A Lakeland, went two innings in the first and four in the second. He allowed nine hits and three runs, but struck out seven, in those six innings.
“Everything was good,” manager Brad Ausmus said of Norris’ four-inning stint.
It’s not clear when either he or Farmer will be inserted into the Mud Hens’ rotation. If Norris stays on his five-day routine, he could be on the mound for the Mud Hens on April 20. Farmer still needs to be stretched out.
Ausmus made it clear, though, that Farmer’s immediate future in the big leagues might still be as a reliever.
“Just because he’s starting at Toledo doesn’t mean he won’t be a reliever up here,” he said. “Having pitchers start is just a way for them to develop faster. They have to throw more innings, use their pitches more, see lineups more than one time through and generally have to throw more strikes.
Ausmus indicated left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy could be joining the Tigers soon, possibly for the series in Kansas City that begins Tuesday.
“We could see him in a couple of days,” Ausmus said. “We need to see how he feels today, but he looked good yesterday.”
Hardy, who is battling through shoulder impingement, made back-to-back appearances for the Mud Hens Thursday and Friday. He pitched two-thirds of an inning with a strikeout Friday.
“I talked to Lloyd and he said Blaine looked really good,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers will face another tough decision on who to send out to make room for Hardy. It seems likely that it would be either right-hander Logan Kensing or left-hander Kyle Ryan.
Cameron Maybin is still not ready.
“He didn’t have a spring training,” Ausmus said. “He needs at-bats. He’s only had 25 or 30 at-bats.”
Between Lakeland and Toledo, he’s had 32 plate appearances and has just five hits in 29 official at-bats. Four of those hits are doubles.
“Normally, a starter would get over 60 at-bats in the spring,” Ausmus said. “He’s had about half that. He won’t get 60, but he could use a few more.”
Funeral services for former Tigers broadcaster Paul Carey, who died Tuesday at the age of 88, were held Saturday at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Rochester.
Channel 7’s Dave LewAllen presided over the ceremony. Fittingly, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was sung and bags of peanuts were distributed afterward.
Carey partnered with Ernie Harwell on the Tigers’ radio broadcasts from 1973 to 1991.