Tigers option Galarraga to Triple-A
Righty's struggles remove him from rotation contention
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers crossed one name off their list of rotation candidates on Thursday.
Three days after Armando Galarraga's third uninspiring outing of the spring, the Tigers optioned the struggling right-hander to Triple-A Toledo.
The team also optioned right-hander Jacob Turner, the ninth overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, to Class A West Michigan, and right-hander Jay Sborz to Toledo.
Galarraga had allowed nine runs, 14 hits and seven walks over seven Grapefruit League innings, after entering Spring Training as a legitimate candidate to win the Tigers' fifth-starter's job.
"He has every right to be disappointed," manager Jim Leyland said. "But at the same time, he has to understand that he struggled a lot last year. He struggled a little bit this spring again."
It has been a quick fall from grace for Galarraga, who burst onto the scene by posting a 13-7 record and 3.73 ERA in 2008, then mustered only a 6-10 mark and 5.64 ERA last season.
Last February, Galarraga entered camp fully entrenched in the Tigers' rotation, and was Leyland's pick to pitch the home opener at Comerica Park. This spring, he arrived in Lakeland with only an outside shot to crack the staff.
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Galarraga was battling Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Eddie Bonine for one of the two open spots in the Tigers' rotation. Though none of those candidates have shined this spring, leaving the door cracked for Galarraga to nab a rotation spot, the Tigers no longer have enough Grapefruit League innings to go around.
Someone had to go.
"We like him," Leyland said. "We like him a lot. I think it's just a matter of getting back in sync and back in a groove, and he'll be fine."
Turner, 18, was the Tigers' top Draft pick last June, and their highest pick since selecting Andrew Miller sixth overall in 2006. Miller later became one of the key pieces in Detroit's deal to acquire Miguel Cabrera.
Leyland said that Turner impressed him with his polish early in camp. Appearing in three games this spring, Turner threw a total of five shutout innings.
"He's a big-time prospect," Leyland said. "And I emphasize big-time prospect. But he's 18 years old. He's just got to go out and pitch. I don't think he can want it to happen overnight, and I don't think we can want it to happen overnight. We've just got to let it take its course."
Sborz, 25, allowed all four of his earned runs this spring in one game against the Orioles. A second-round Draft pick of the Tigers in 2003, Sborz cracked Triple-A for the first time last season.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.