Ramirez called up from Minors
Outfielder to start Tuesday as reliever Fien is sent down
DETROIT -- The Tigers recalled Wilkin Ramirez from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday and manager Jim Leyland penciled in the outfielder in the leadoff spot in the Detroit lineup for the game against Baltimore.
To make room for Ramirez Detroit optioned reliever Casey Fien to Toledo. However the move may be a short-term one, according to Leyland, who had a discussion with general manager Dave Dombrowski.
"We might be tinkering with our rosters for the next month or so," Leyland said. "If we overtax our bullpen tonight, we may send [Ramirez] back down tomorrow. He'll start tonight and who knows, that could be it. For one day, we have enough [rested arms] in our bullpen so we went out and added another right-handed bat."
Ramirez started in left field Tuesday and Ryan Raburn was put in center as rookie lefty Brian Matusz makes his Major League debut for the Orioles. Matusz was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of San Diego.
Ramirez was hitting .274 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 90 games for the Toledo Mud Hens. However he has been much more productive against left-handers. Over his last 31 games in Toledo, Ramirez is hitting .345 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs.
"He's made improvements. He's a talent," Leyland said. "I don't know what he's going to do [Tuesday]. He may strike out four times or he might hit one in the shrubs [in straightaway center field at Comerica Park]."
The decision wasn't made until Tuesday morning and Ramirez was called just after 10 a.m. ET so that he could make the drive north up I-75. Having the Triple-A team within an hour's drive of Detroit will help the Tigers remain flexible in how they will manage their roster during a potential pennant run.
"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here," Leyland said. "If you have the flexibility with your Major League roster, why not tinker with it. So don't read too much into this move."
Leyland confirmed that he doesn't plan to carry only 11 pitchers for very long, so it could mean that Fien may be back with the club soon. Leyland said that the righty is an aggressive young pitcher who has some potential for the Tigers in the short and long term.
"He didn't do anything wrong," Leyland said of Fien. "He needs to improve his breaking ball and change the eye level of the hitter up and down some. He got his feet wet. He's still in the mix."
Fien went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in four appearances with Detroit, allowing six hits and striking out six in four innings.
Ramirez improved his defense down in Toledo as a corner outfielder, which will help him to become a better overall player at the big league level.
"He's not a Gold Glove, but he's made improvements," said Leyland. He's facing a tough lefty [in Matusz], so we wanted to see what he could do. This is action. I like this. You've got [Matusz] making his Major League debut tonight and we've got one of our young guys leading off against him. This is fun."
Mike Scott is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.