The Mud Hens suffered a key loss to their rotation as pitcher Shane Loux was promoted to Detroit before yesterday's game.
In 21 games for Toledo, including 20 starts, Loux was 11-6 with a 3.02 ERA. The Hens' representative to the Triple-A All-Star game, the right-hander is tied for the International League lead in victories and ranks fifth in the league in ERA.
The Tigers plan to use the 23-year-old as a reliever, but Loux said that doesn't bother him at all.
“I've been working all year for this chance and I'm excited to get it,” he said while packing his bags before yesterday's game. “I'll throw every day until my arm falls off if they want me.
“Seriously, I know there's no room in the rotation with the guys and the way they were pitching up there.”
Tiger manager Alan Trammell sympathized with Loux and his desire to enter the rotation in Detroit. “He's very deserving of [a spot in the rotation],” Trammell said. “We just don't have a spot for him.”
To make room for Loux on the roster the Tigers sent right-hander Fernando Rodney to the Mud Hens. The 22-year-old, who had 16 saves with Toledo before his promotion to Detroit on June 23, was 0-1 with an 8.71 ERA in 11 appearances with the Tigers.
The moves leave Hens manager Larry Parrish with a pair of tough decisions to make. One already has been made: Right-hander Seth Greisinger will take Loux's spot in the rotation and start today's game against Richmond.
Greisinger has made 14 starts for Toledo this season; in 18 appearances he is 5-6 with a 4.74 ERA.
The second question is whether Rodney will regain his spot as the Hens' closer. Right-hander Franklyn German has been closing games for Toledo recently. Parrish said he isn't ready to make that decision just yet.
“Right now I need to see Rodney [pitch] again,” Parrish said. “He may need a couple of outings to get his confidence back. But if Rodney pitches like he did with us before, he goes into the closer's role.”
BRAVES MAKE CHANGE: Richmond also lost its starter for today's game as right-hander Jason Marquis was called up to Atlanta. Right-hander Matt Belisle was promoted from Greenville in the Double-A Southern League to take Marquis' spot. Belisle was 6-8 with a 3.52 ERA with Greenville.
THANK YOUS: The hard rains in the ninth inning yesterday made covering the infield a nearly impossible task for the grounds crew - and the number of Mud Hens employees who went onto the field to help.
When the field finally was covered, Richmond infielder Stubby Clapp came onto the field to offer drinks to the soaked workers.
A few minutes later Toledo pitcher Tyler Walker came onto the field with a batting helmet, walked onto the tarp and “hit” a home run in a pantomime routine. About 25 feet from home plate he went into his slide, finishing near the end of the tarp.
MAKING THE CALL: The hard rains in the top of the ninth allowed for only two batters to come to the plate - Johnny Estrada, whom Hens reliever Corey Brittan got to ground out, and Mike Hessman, who homered. But many players, coaches, fans and media wondered why those at-bats counted when in the past the rule was that statistics reverted to the last full inning completed.
The rule that governs this decision is 10.03 (e)(1), which states, “If a regulation game is called, include the record of all individual and team actions up to the moment the game ends.”
The Hens spoke with IL president Randy Mobley during the rain delay to confirm this ruling.
CROWD COUNT: Yesterday's crowd of 9,401 was the 17th home sellout for the Mud Hens this season and the third in a row. That attendance total also was the 44th overall sellout in the two-year history of the ballpark.
After 51 home dates this season the Hens have sold 373,961 tickets, an average of 7,333 per game. That pace is slightly ahead of last year's pace at this point; but last year the Hens finished with 13 sellouts in their last 14 games on the way to a Toledo-record attendance of 547,204.
To equal that mark this season the Hens will need to sell 173,243 tickets for their final 19 home games, an average of 9,118 tickets per contest.