Tigers place Jones on 15-day DL
Club purchases contract of Glover from Triple-A Toledo
DETROIT -- Todd Jones believed he could help the Tigers, sore shoulder or no. After watching what Detroit's bullpen had gone through in two weeks without him, he badly wanted to help.
It took one rough outing for him to realize he couldn't. With that, he was back on the disabled list on Sunday morning, and he'll likely stay there until rosters expand to 40 players Sept. 1. It might be too late to help the Tigers much by then, but he's hoping it's not too late for him to pitch well again.
"I can't help out pitching how I'm feeling now, and it's killing me," Jones said. "I can take it. I can handle the boos and everything. I want to be out there and be part of the team, but I can't help. Jim [Leyland] told me he's not sure what he gets when I'm out there, so he can't find a situation he feels comfortable putting me in."
Jones, Detroit's closer for much of the past three seasons until late last month, missed two weeks with inflammation in his right shoulder before he was activated on Friday, the first day he was eligible to return. Talking with reporters Sunday morning, he took the blame for that move. It was his decision, he said, to come back so soon after a cortisone shot in his shoulder and some side work.
Watching the bullpen struggle at Tampa Bay and Chicago helped convince him to push it, but he also felt like it was his duty.
"I wanted to try to come back as quick as I could," Jones said, "because I felt like I could really help out the team, and also being accountable. If the season doesn't go well, I want to be active and I want to take my turn when I get the ball, take my turn taking the boos and the cheers. I'm as much to blame as anybody.
"But the main reason I wanted to come back was because I thought I could help out. It was totally my decision to come back. I know it kind of looks bad being off the DL two days and then having to go back on, but all I was trying to do was try to get back as quick as possible and try to help out in any way I could. And then, when I got back, I realized when I was pitching that I could throw, but I can't pitch."
Leyland hoped to give Jones an easy inning back before working him into any close or late-game situations, potentially including some save opportunities. However, a ninth-inning appearance on Friday with a 5-2 deficit turned into a 38-pitch adventure that included two fielding errors behind him, three walks -- one intentional -- and five unearned runs.
The normal velocity was there, Jones said, but the command was not, an uncomfortable spot for Jones given how much he has emphasized executing pitches over his career. The confidence, in turn, was lacking.
"I was concerned about my arm hurting when I was pitching," Jones said. "When I did my mechanics properly, it didn't hurt. When you're throwing on the side, you can control all that. But when you're competing against big league hitters, you can't worry about your mechanics. And when my mechanics got bad, that's when it got bad in my arm.
"I just can't make pitches. I've talked the whole time I've been here about making pitches. When I don't make pitches, I get pounded. I physically can't make them."
That's when Leyland sat down with Jones to talk about his situation on Saturday.
"He's a true trouper," Leyland said. "He wanted to earn his keep. I wasn't real confident that everything would be all right just yet, but he wanted to give it a shot."
The pain, Jones said, is centered in the back of his shoulder, but head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said they won't be doing any followup tests. Jones will be visiting with Dr. James Andrews, but only to work out at his facilities in Birmingham, Ala., near his home, not to be examined. With the Tigers on the road next week, Jones will miss that trip, removing him from the temptation to throw.
Jones has never had a major surgery on his arm, and at age 40, he won't have one now.
"He's always joked around, 'When are you going to let me see you?'" Jones said of Andrews. "I'm like, 'You stay away from me.'"
To take Jones' place on the roster, the Tigers purchased the contract of right-hander Gary Glover, who wasn't in the Detroit system until he joined Triple-A Toledo last weekend. The Rays designated the 31-year-old for assignment on July 28 after placing him on the DL earlier in the month with what was listed as a strained left calf. Glover made three appearances out of the Mud Hens' bullpen, tossing four scoreless innings with three hits and four strikeouts.
"He's always had a good arm," Leyland said of Glover. "He's a top-notch individual, so we'll find out. This is kind of a trial-and-error thing for him and us. We're glad to have him. He's blessed with a good arm, and we'll see if we pushed the right button."
Glover pitched 34 innings over 29 appearances for Tampa Bay this season, posting a 5.82 ERA. He pitched in virtually every bullpen role over two seasons with the Rays.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.