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Published: 7/29/2006

Gomez returns to Hens

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Alexis Gomez Alexis Gomez
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Mud Hen catcher Mike Rabelo rounds second base after hitting a double that plated Jack Hannahan, Ryan Raburn and Ryan Ludwick at Fifth Third Field last night. Mud Hen catcher Mike Rabelo rounds second base after hitting a double that plated Jack Hannahan, Ryan Raburn and Ryan Ludwick at Fifth Third Field last night.
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Outfielder Alexis Gomez joined the Hens for the third time this season, activated yesterday after being designated for assignment by the Tigers on Wednesday.

Gomez was hitting .298 since being called up to Detroit the second time on June 6, but had just 47 at-bats. The Tigers called up Hens starter Colby Lewis on Wednesday to have extra bullpen help, but Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he expects to call Gomez up again this year.

"I understand the situation," Gomez said. "They're playing to win up in Detroit. They don't mess around."

Gomez said it's sometimes hard to focus because he's used to having about 500 at-bats a season, and has had fewer than 200 two-thirds of the way through this one. But he's glad to be part of the Tigers' season, and the Hens "are my team."

Gomez batted leadoff last night and was 2-for-4 with a double and a single.

To make room for Gomez the Hens released Tike Redman. Redman, who was signed in the first week of the season, batted .253 in 79 games with the Hens.

OTHER MOVES: Also, pitcher Anthony Claggett was sent back to West Michigan after pitching one inning for the Hens on Thursday.

The Hens were a player short, saving a roster spot for a call-up today to be used on a starting pitcher for tonight's game at Louisville.

Hens manager Larry Parrish said a starter from Double-A Erie would make a spot start but declined to name him. Tonight's scheduled starter for Erie is left-hander John Connolly.

DURBIN DURABLE: Right-hander Chad Durbin's nine-inning outing on Tuesday has become more valuable to Parrish as the week goes on.

In the first game against Pawtucket, Durbin saved the bullpen by giving up one run on three hits. The Hens won the game in the 10th inning.

"That was huge," Parrish said.

Durbin is 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA this season. Parrish said Durbin's numbers indicate that in a different pitching rotation he would have been called up to Detroit on Wednesday instead of Lewis if he had not pitched.

"We don't know it, but he might have been the guy who went up except when they needed a guy, he was the guy pitching that night," Parrish said.

"Sometimes it's timing."

BUNTS: Hens pitching coach Jeff Jones was thrown out in the fifth inning by umpire Chris Griffith for arguing balls and strikes. .●.●. A faulty phone system in the Fifth Third Field press box caused the start of the Mud Hens radio broadcast to be delayed until the eighth inning.



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