Starting with those two pitchers that we've been giving weekly updates on since practically the first week of the season. As seen in the Hot News articles up top, Kyle Sleeth and Humberto Sanchez have had their fates decided; unfortunately, they've gone in opposite directions.
Sanchez made his return to the SeaWolves' rotation last weekend, as Erie sent Randor Bierd back down to Lakeland. Sanchez was on a pitch limit in his first start, and will likely have one for at least the next month as he works his way back into shape, but the early returns were encouraging as he gave up a run in four innings with seven strikeouts.
The other side of course is the terrible news about Sleeth, which we had been hinting at for some time now. Sleeth simply was making no progress in rehab, and after two months still couldn't throw even off flat ground without pain. So, the decision was made to have Sleeth go under the knife and fix the problem now. It was likely the right time to do it, as Sleeth should be able to return to pitching by next spring, and return to live action by summer. Nevertheless, it's yet another first round draft pick that has had to go under the knife with a serious arm injury. The Tigers would be wise to build a protective shield around the arm of Justin Verlander.
Onto better news on the rehab trail, Fernando Rodney finally began a rehab assignment with Toledo, and after performing well in a couple of appearances, is likely headed back to Detroit, with the Tigers having cleared a spot in the bullpen with the trade of Ugueth Urbina.
Two other Tigers meanwhile are also down in Toledo, but for a different reason. Having struggled for the first two months, Carlos Pena and Wilfredo Ledezma were optioned down, and so far the results have been encouraging for the pair. Pena is hitting .286 in 28 at bats, including four RBI. Ledezma doesn't have a decision yet, but gave the club a quality start with two runs allowed over six innings. These two will likely remain in Toledo for the immediate future, so much of their future with the Tigers will likely depend on their production with the ‘Hens.
Jody Roughton was temporarily moved up to Erie for a couple games as Juan Tejeda was placed on temporary inactive list. The reason? Tejeda and his wife just had their second child, and Juan returned home to be with his family for the delivery. Juan is back with Erie now, and Roughton has returned to West Michigan. Congratulations to the Tejeda family.
Down in Lakeland, there was some news as well. First, Andy Baldwin and Mike Kobow were traded to the Washington Nationals, leaving the Tiger organization to join the Nationals' group. No word yet on what, if anything, the Tigers received in return.
Also, the Florida State League released its All Star team, and wouldn't you know it, the hottest team in the FSL brought home the most All Star representatives, placing ten players on the team. The list: starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Jordan Tata and Nate Bumstead, reliever Chris Homer, infielders Juan Francia, Scott Tousa and Kody Kirkland, catcher Danilo Sanchez and outfielders Vincent Blue and Brent Clevlen. Talk about impressive. Congrats to all the L-Tigers on their nomination.