TigsTown MLN: Miller Gets the Call

The expected promotion has happened. Plus, after a hot start, a catcher is going to find himself on the shelf for quite a while. Plus, more on the 50-game suspension of one of his battery mates, and which pitcher once knocking on the door is now being passed by a hot teammate in the eyes of the Tigers.

It wasn't expected to take long, and it didn't. After the Flying Tigers game on Tuesday, it was announced that the prized lefty (and last year's first round pick) Andrew Miller would be promoted to Erie.

The move was expected from the very beginning, with Miller only staying in Lakeland for the first month to avoid the cold weather, and get some additional work with the organization's year round staff in Lakeland. Miller will join Erie's rotation, while Andrew Kown was bumped back down to Lakeland.

Some expressed concern over the timing of this move, especially because Miller had simply not dominated high-A ball like many expected him to. In seven starts, Miller was 1-4 with a 3.48 ERA, with 28 strikeouts and 15 walks. Certainly solid numbers, but not dominating. The jump to Erie will be a challenging one for Miller, but a necessary one considering his skill set.

Meanwhile, Dusty Ryan was off to a very hot start at the beginning of the year, launching four home runs. But it didn't take long for that to hit a snag, and Ryan turned up with a torn meniscus, which will leave him on the shelf for an extended period of time. It's yet another setback for the young catcher, who has been heralded for having plenty of potential, but simply hasn't been able to turn that potential into consistent production on the diamond.

At this point, it's not a secret to many that Sendy Vasquez was suspended at the end of April for 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. Vasquez is just the second Tiger stateside minor leaguer to test positive, and the first in more than two years (VSL Pitcher Elvaro Diaz tested positive last summer). The first was pitcher Damien Myers, who was actually released before the suspension could even have been announced.

While there are certain organizations that have been flagged around baseball as not being stringent on enforcing the new bans, the Tigers aren't one of them. Vasquez came as a surprise to just about everyone in the organization, but the Tigers like his potential and won't throw the towel in on him yet. However, needless to say, he's on a very strict watch policy now, and the Tigers will be monitoring him, especially to see how effective he'll be without the banned substance.

Finally, Virgil Vasquez has been arguably the hottest pitcher in the entire organization over the past month, and has likely emerged as the first pitcher to get a look should the Tigers need someone from Toledo. Vasquez, with the exception of two bad starts, has been absolutely dominant between the first month of the season and last fall's Arizona Fall League.

Of course, that means that the guy the Tigers had focused on, Jordan Tata, is quickly falling. Some of that is certainly out of his control being injured. But with Tata only having two reliable pitchers, many are beginning to believe his future might be in the bullpen.

As for Tata and his health, they were originally hoping he'd be back on the field by the end of April. But as of now, it appears as if the end of May is a more likely time for his return. At that point, the discussion could begin about whether or not his future might be better off as a setup man, especially with Joel Zumaya's availability this season being up in the air, and a solid reliever being incredibly valuable to the club.

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