In a bit of a surprise move, the Tigers will recall right-hander Max Scherzer from Triple-A Toledo to start against the Athletics on Sunday, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
The Tigers were clearly headed in a different direction after Sunday’s projected starter Armando Galarraga pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief during Friday’s 5-4 loss. Some thought it was done so that Justin Verlander could simply pitch on regular rest, but the Tigers have apparently been encouraged enough by Scherzer’s progress in the minor leagues.
Scherzer was demoted to Triple-A Toledo on May 16 after going 1-4 with a 7.29 ERA and 1.67 WHIP over his first eight starts. After making some mechanical tweaks, Scherzer rediscovered his velocity and allowed just one run over two starts with the Mud Hens (0.50 ERA), posting a 17/2 K/BB ratio in 15 innings.
Obviously there were different motivations for sending each pitcher to the minors, but we’ll soon see if Scherzer can be this year’s version of Ricky Nolasco.
Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.
On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.
It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.
While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.