As first reported by the Tigers’ own official team Twitter feed, left-hander Dontrelle Willis has been designated for assignment to clear room for the promotion of Sunday’s starter, Max Scherzer.
Thus ends an era, for lack of a better term. Willis, now 28, joined the Tigers on December 5, 2007, as part of a massive trade from the Marlins that also involved Miguel Cabrera. He signed a three-year, $29 million contract extension soon after the transfer was complete, and that’s when the problems began.
D-Train made only seven starts in his first year with the Tigers and allowed 25 earned runs in 24 innings — good enough for a 9.38 ERA and a 2.21 WHIP. Things got no better in 2009 and he continued to show ineffectiveness this season.
Perhaps a move back to the National League will help Willis revitalize his career. It’s worked so far for Carlos Silva, and countless others have enjoyed similar success. Either way, his time in Detroit, wearing the Olde English “D,” will not be remembered fondly.
Last we heard from Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks’ right-hander was contemplating Tommy John surgery for a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. Now, he appears to have decided to go through with the procedure.
Miller decided to skip Tommy John alternatives like plasma-rich platelet injections or stem cell treatment, which have been used to varying degrees of success by other major league pitchers with similar injuries. The surgery will set him back an estimated 12-18 months, FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke reports, which puts Miller’s estimated return date somewhere in 2018 if all goes well.
The 26-year-old starter was off to a rocky start this season, posting a 2-2 record and 4.09 ERA through 22 innings and striking out just 20 of 99 batters faced. This was his sophomore campaign in Arizona after muddling through the 2016 season with a 3-12 record, 6.15 ERA and 0.5 fWAR over 101 innings with the club.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.