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Published: Monday, 6/9/2008

Detroit tougher for Sowers


DETROIT - Jeremy Sowers was in Toledo on Tuesday shutting out the Mud Hens.

Yesterday he was in Detroit, having a much more difficult time with the Hens' parent club, the Tigers.

Sowers, who was called up yesterday from Triple-A Buffalo to pitch for the third time this season, allowed all five runs in the Tigers' 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Unlike his previous two starts, he's not immediately headed back to the minors after this one.

Because of injuries to Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona, Sowers will be with the Indians at least until Carmona returns from his hip injury, which won't be until the end of the month at the earliest.

Sowers has pitched reasonably well at both levels this year, going 4-3 with a 2.08 ERA for the Bisons and is 0-1 with a 6.91 ERA for the Tribe. His start yesterday hurt his major league totals.

A No. 1 draft pick in 2004, Sowers said he tries to stick to the same basic game plan regardless of what league he's pitching in.

"It shouldn't [change], but you can't help thinking a little differently because of the difference between major league and minor league hitters," Sowers said. "Hitters here foul off pitches that hitters down there would miss, or they lay off pitches that hitters down there would chase."

Sowers said this was the first start this year in the big leagues where he was "disappointed" in his performance. He gave up seven hits in four innings, and four of five runs came with two outs.

"At the same time, I was a couple pitches away from being OK," Sowers said.

Cleveland relievers Scott Elarton and Edward Mujica combined for four scoreless innings.

Indians manager Eric Wedge spoke before yesterday's game about his bullpen - which was so good a year ago - needing to rebound from a tough start. Tribe relievers have already blown 10 saves this season after blowing just 14 in all of 2007.

BABY GAMES: Tigers manager Jim Leyland told an incredible story yesterday about the bond between his brother, niece, and Marcus Thames - a story best relayed to readers using (mostly) Leyland's words.

"My brother Larry is a guy who's been promoting Marcus Thames since Day 1," Leyland began. "Two years ago on June 24, my brother Larry's daughter had her first baby. Marcus Thames hit a home run to tie the game. Saturday my brother Larry's daughter had her second baby, and Marcus Thames hit a [expletive] home run to tie the [expletive] game. How about that?"

Thames indeed smacked a homer in the eighth inning Saturday against the Tribe that tied the game at three - the same day his niece Courtney gave birth to a son. And on June 24, 2006, Thames hit a game-tying homer against the St. Louis Cardinals the day Courtney brought her first child into the world.

Of course, Leyland suggested his niece continue to procreate.

MAKING MOVES: The Tigers recalled reliever Clay Rapada's rehab assignment from Toledo yesterday and removed him from the disabled list.

Rapada, on the DL since May 21 with biceps tendinitis, made one rehab appearance with the Mud Hens, walking two batters in two-thirds of an inning Saturday night. Detroit didn't have to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Rapada because of the placement of Jeremy Bonderman (blood clot) on the DL Saturday.

Leyland said Tigers reliever Aquilino Lopez, on bereavement leave in the Dominican Republic to be with his ailing father, will not rejoin the team today as planned.

The Indians did have to demote someone so Sowers could come up from Buffalo, but the player they sent down - pitcher Brian Slocumb - hadn't seen any action with the Tribe since his call-up on Wednesday.

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