Tigers reveal six September callups
Bullpen bolstered with three righties; more players due later
DETROIT -- Now that the Tigers survived the back half of August with one less relief pitcher, reinforcements are on the way.
The team announced its September callups Monday, adding a half-dozen players to the roster for the stretch run. That includes three additions to the bullpen with right-handers Jeremy Bonderman, Eddie Bonine and Casey Fien.
Bonderman, who has spent most of August on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, will be activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Bonine and Fien will be recalled from the Mud Hens, as will catcher Dusty Ryan and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez. Infielder Brent Dlugach will have his contract purchased and added to the Tigers roster.
The moves will bring the Tigers' active roster to 31 players, with more on the way. Right-hander Armando Galarraga, who was optioned to Toledo last week but remains in Detroit to work through inflammation in his throwing elbow, will be recalled Saturday. That's the first day he's eligible to return; he has to spend at least 10 days in the Minors unless he replaces an injured player, which won't be happening in this case. He's scheduled to start Friday for Toledo.
Other additions, manager Jim Leyland indicated, will be made once the Mud Hens' season ends next Monday.
"I like the addition of pitchers," manager Jim Leyland said. "Plus, we'll get one more back when Galarraga's ready."
Bonderman's return was expected once the Tigers sent him out on rehab. He gave up nine earned runs in 14 innings over 11 relief appearances with the Hens, but created plenty of encouragement when he hit 95 mph in an outing last week.
His only appearance with the Tigers this season came June 8 against the White Sox, who roughed him up for six runs on eight hits over four innings. He went back on the disabled list after that with continued shoulder soreness following surgery to correct a blood vessel condition in his shoulder.
"He'll be on the staff," Leyland said. "I'll use him out of the bullpen. He will not be starting."
Bonine was the guy the Tigers sent out to make room for Aubrey Huff on the roster following his trade from the Orioles on Aug. 17. His last game action with the Tigers was a spot start in late July, but he'll be used out of the bullpen for the stretch run. He has allowed 11 runs over 14 innings in five games with Detroit this summer.
Fien had one brief stint with the Tigers this summer, giving up four runs over as many innings in four games, but the 25-year-old owns a 2-1 record and 3.41 ERA over 58 innings at Toledo.
Ryan was virtually assured of a call to Detroit as a third catcher for the roster, allowing Leyland use Alex Avila as a pinch-hitter and in other late-game situations without having to worry about an injury replacement if he or Gerald Laird gets hurt. He went 4-for-25 with four RBIs in 11 games with the Tigers this summer before Detroit brought up Avila to replace him.
Ramirez, Detroit's top outfield prospect heading into the season, had a pair of one-game stints with the Tigers this season, but has done the bulk of his damage with the Mud Hens. The multi-tooled 23-year-old entered Monday batting .258 with 17 doubles, six triples, 17 home runs, 51 RBIs and 33 stolen bases over 112 games in Toledo.
"Ramirez is a good fit," Leyland said, "because he can pinch-run, play against a lefty or maybe pinch-hit against a lefty."
Dlugach is the only one of the callups who hasn't yet had an appearance with the Tigers. The former sixth-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft was a relatively promising shortstop prospect before a torn labrum in his shoulder derailed his last two seasons. Finally healthy, he has turned in an All-Star season with the Mud Hens, batting .294 with 36 doubles, nine home runs and 59 RBIs in 124 games.
"I felt like if we happen to pinch-hit for [Adam] Everett, you're not limited at shortstop. Dlugach is a guy who can really catch the ball."
The 26-year-old Dlugach started at third base Sunday, an indication he could also end up as an insurance policy if Brandon Inge needs more days off or eventually has to go on the DL.
To make room for Dlugach on the roster, the Tigers will call up shortstop Michael Hollimon from Double-A Erie, but only as a procedural move. He will be immediately placed on the 60-day disabled list, allowing the Tigers to fill his spot on the 40-man roster. He's recovering from surgery on his shoulder.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.