Steven Moya sees promotion as chance to stick

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Baltimore — Steven Moya was asked what he wanted to show the coaching staff now that he was summoned to the big leagues.

“Nothing,” he said.

Come again?

“I want to play and do good, but I just want to enjoy the game,” he said. “I want to do good and help the team win.”

In other words, he doesn’t want to put any additional pressure on himself.

“Exactly,” he said.

Understandable, given that Moya has wrestled with high expectations since the Tigers signed him. His two other call-ups from Triple A Toledo were in September. This is the first time he’s been up early in the season.

“When you are called up in September or now, it’s still the big leagues,” he said. “You are still playing real games. Maybe this time I can stay in the big leagues.”

That remains to be seen. Cameron Maybin, who is finishing his rehab assignment in Toledo, could be ready to join the Tigers when they get home next week. But Moya has earned this promotion.

Upton gets first big-league start in CF

In 31 games at Toledo, he’s hitting .310 and leading the International League with nine home runs. He has 24 RBIs and an OPS of.968.

“Lloyd (McClendon, Mud Hens manager) said he was swinging the bat as well as he’d seen him,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “And when he hits it, it has a chance to leave the yard.”

Moya was surprised to get the call.

“McClendon called me, but I didn’t even know who it was because I don’t have his number,” Moya said. “When I heard his voice, then I knew what it was about. I am just happy to be in the big leagues.”

Could Moya earn an extended stay? Absolutely.

“We will see what happens,” Ausmus said. “It’s a performance-based business.”

Left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy was sent down. Hardy hadn’t pitched since May 5 and worked just 7.1 innings this season.

“It was nothing Blaine did,” Ausmus said. “He’d been warming up four or five times, we just didn’t have a situation to use him.”

The Tigers called up left-hander Daniel Norris on Wednesday and still have three lefties in the bullpen.

Emergency catcher

It is a misnomer that utility man Andrew Romine is the team’s third catcher.

He is not. He is the team’s emergency catcher, and that point was validated in the ninth inning against the Nationals Wednesday.

Down 3-2 against Max Scherzer, who was finishing up his historical 20-strikeout performance, Ausmus used Romine to pinch run for Victor Martinez. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had already pinch-hit in the game.

So if Ausmus wanted to use Nick Castellanos to pinch hit for James McCann with two outs, and the Tigers would somehow have tied the game, Romine would have made his big-league debut behind the plate.

That was never going to happen. Ausmus was asked what the drop-off was between McCann or Saltalamacchia and Romine behind the plate.

“Huge,” he said. “Enormous. Imagine (if the Nats batted in the bottom of the ninth) a guy gets a hit and you have a guy back there who’s never caught. Now the runner is on third base in like two pitches and that’s the winning run.

“There was not even a consideration (of doing that). That’s ludicrous.”

Around the horn

Ausmus said right-hander Shane Greene, still on the DL (blister), would have to make at least one and probably two rehab starts before he would be reinstated. He just started throwing off the mound (Wednesday), so he’s probably a week away from that. In the meantime, Michael Fulmer will continue to start in Greene’s place.

... Maybin (shoulder) played center field in Toledo for the second straight game Thursday. He made a diving catch in the game Wednesday with no complications. “Lloyd said he’d probably still need a couple more days,” Ausmus said.

Twitter: @cmccosky