TigsTown MLN: Pitchers Shelved for the Year

Injury news continues to surface throughout the organization, and while there were a couple of positive lights, the news was largely poor for a couple of minor leaguers. In addition, some roster moves were made and more could be on the horizon. Check inside for all the details.

McBride Schedules TJ Surgery: Left-hander Mackay McBride has gotten the final word he was looking for from his second opinion in New York; or maybe this wasn't the word he was looking for. Further tests revealed a minor tear in McBride's ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The tear will require ligament replacement surgery – Tommy John surgery – and will keep him out the remainder of the 2008 season. The Tigers had made the decision this spring to move McBride back into the rotation at Triple-A Toledo, in hopes of finding a role where he could excel. Instead, the organization will be forced to wait until at least the start of the 2009 season to see if he can develop into a contributing member of the Tigers future.

Gerbe's Shoulder Forces Surgery: Despite pitching quite well in big league camp this spring, Jeff Gerbe was forced to succumb to the pain and go under the knife for arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Jeff had been suffering from shoulder tendinitis for the last few weeks, and early word had been promising that he may return to the mound shortly. Unfortunately, progress ceased and further tests revealed damage to his labrum, requiring surgery to repair the injury. Depending on the severity of the damage, Gerbe could be out into the start of next year, but hope remains that he will be able to start the 2009 season on an active minor league roster.

Cruceta's Timeline: As has been widely reported, right-handed reliever Francisco Cruceta is finally able to come stateside now that his work visa has been approved in the Dominican Republic. After a lengthy wait for approval, the Tigers are left hoping that Cruceta can fulfill the promise he showed in the Dominican Winter League, and help an ailing big league bullpen. The Tigers will have 30-days to determine their path forward with Cruceta, during which time he can spend 15-days on an active minor league roster to participate in games. While Cruceta has been working out at the Tigers Dominican complex while awaiting approval, it is likely he will spend at least a couple of weeks working out in Lakeland. It is unclear if the organization plans to have Cruceta participate in any minor league games prior to joining the team in Detroit.

Ostlund Activated: Left-hander Ian Ostlund has been activated from the 7-day disabled list at Triple-A Toledo, and he will promptly assume his role in the ‘Hens bullpen. Ostlund had been placed on the disabled list in a precautionary move to allow him a full recovery from a strained neck. Ostlund rejoins a Toledo roster that saw him appear in 15 games in 2007, posting a 4.50 ERA and 2-1 record.

Righter Sent Down: In conjunction with Ostlund's activation, 26-year old right-handed pitcher Matt Righter has been sent back down to Oneonta. Since the Oneonta season has yet to begin, Righter will work out as part of extended spring training at the Tigers Lakeland, Florida complex. Righter appeared in two games during his brief stint with Toledo, yielding six hits and two earned runs in 2-2/3 innings of work. As rosters continue to evolve in the coming weeks, Righter is likely to be re-assigned to a full-season roster.

Fossum Looks Good: Recently signed by the Tigers, lefty Casey Fossum looked good during his first workout in front of his new Toledo coaches, and he could be prepared to join the active roster as soon as this weekend. The decision has yet to be made where Fossum will fit into the Toledo pitching staff, but he will likely have a fair chance at cracking the rotation in the near future, moving Jeremy Johnson back to the bullpen. The activation of Fossum will require removal of another member of the roster, and with the ‘Hens only carrying eleven pitchers at this time, a position player could be on the move.

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