Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Right now, I think the question is no longer if, but when. Willis has shown some improvement at the minor league level, and barring a complete implosion, will make the next step to Detroit. As to when, I expect him to get at least two starts in Toledo, maybe three. He made his debut with Lakeland on April 21st, so there's still plenty of time for him to get work down at the minor league level. If after his next two starts he proves successful for the Mud Hens, I think he'll get the call up to Detroit. Based on getting full rest, and assuming he takes Zach Miner's spot in the rotation, I see Dontrelle returning on Tuesday, May 12th to face the Minnesota Twins. How he does on that day will likely determine whether or not he has any future beyond that date.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I really don't think there is any doubt that Willis will pitch in Detroit at some point in 2009; if for nothing else than to say they gave it a shot. His 30-day rehab clock is beginning to tick loudly, and they are going to be forced to make a decision with him in the next ten days or so; that decision will likely involve one of three scenarios, 1) bringing him back to Detroit to pitch, 2) releasing him completely, or 3) attempting to option him to the minor leagues again. The first two seem more likely in my mind than the third, and I think its far more likely he'll be back in Detroit, even if for a short spell to see where he's at and if any progress has been made. Given the restrictions on his rehab timeline, I'd wager he'll be in Detroit by the time we play at Clevlend 8-10 May.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think Willis will be back in Detroit, but the Tigers need to be absolutely certain he is ready to go both physically and mentally before bringing him up. I could see a time perhaps over the next two months should the Tigers run into injuries, or ineffective pitching where they could bring him back up, but as of right now, there should be no rush in bringing him back to the big leagues.
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