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Sunday, December 21, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 8/24/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

HENS NOTEBOOK

Mud Hens call-ups still up in the air for Tigers

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski said Friday that the organization has had no discussions about potential end-of-year call-ups.

The discussion will begin soon as the Tigers determine which Mud Hens, if any, will join the major-league club for the September playoff chase.

One wild card in this process is new Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. Previous manager Jim Leyland was on record as wanting only a limited number of extra players on the roster; there’s no word on whether Ausmus wants as many potential players (read: options) as possible, or if he, like Leyland, wants only a few extra players.

The key for these promotions is Detroit’s 40-man roster. If a player is not on the Tigers’ 40-man roster, he must be added to be available to the team in September.

That 40-man dilemma makes even a no-brainer choice such as Mud Hens catcher James McCann, who ranks among the International League leaders in batting average (.302) and runners thrown out trying to steal (41.8 percent), into a bit of a question mark.

The assumption is the Tigers will make a move to add McCann to the 40-man roster. “I think he can help them,” Toledo manager Larry Parrish said.

Another player who would seem to be a lock is Hernan Perez. He is on the 40-man roster, and has made himself a viable option by improving his play at shortstop (he leads IL shortstops with a .968 fielding percentage) and at the plate (he entered Saturday’s game with a .287 batting average.

“He’s attacking the ball a little better, and he’s driving it,” Parrish said of Perez.

An interesting decision involves outfielder Tyler Collins, who is hitting .267 with 18 homers and 59 RBIs. He is on the Tigers’ 40-man roster, but so is Steven Moya, who has 33 homers and 98 RBIs for Double-A Erie.

“He’s still learning his swing,” Parrish said of Collins. “He’s put up some good power numbers and some good RBI numbers, but he also has had a lot of strikeouts, a lot of inconsistency.

“He’s played like a first-year player at this level: He has talent, but he has been inconsistent.”

The Tigers probably will promote pitchers for their beleaguered bullpen, but which ones? Lefty starter Robbie Ray seems certain, but relievers Ian Krol, Justin Miller, Jose Ortega, and Melvin Mercedes, who are on the 40-man roster, and Evan Reed, who is not — but pitched for Detroit earlier — are the most likely candidates.

“Guys like them have enough stuff, but they have to have more consistency with the breaking ball,” Parrish said. 

“You can’t just throw pitches for strikes; you have to throw quality strikes.”

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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