DETROIT -- The player to be named later in Monday's trade for Delmon Young was supposed to be announced by mid-October. Instead, the Twins and Tigers agreed on the final player on Tuesday, sending right-handed reliever Lester Oliveros to Minnesota to complete the trade.
The 23-year-old Venezuelan made his Major League debut in Detroit on July 1 and pitched in nine games before being optioned back to the system late in the month. He was bumped from Triple-A Toledo to Double-A Erie last weekend to make room on what had become a crowded pitching staff. Chance Ruffin is still in the Mud Hens bullpen, as was Ryan Perry until his callup over the weekend. David Purcey was outrighted to Toledo last week.
It didn't necessarily reflect Oliveros' prospect standing in the Tigers system -- he had entered the season ranked on many lists -- but it showed some reluctance to advance him too far, too quickly. Still, it was a decent piece for the Twins, who assigned him to Triple-A Rochester.
Oliveros gave up five earned runs over eight innings in his time in Detroit. He posted a 1-3 record, 6.43 ERA and five saves in 22 appearances with the Mud Hens. His 10 games at Erie saw much better results with a 2-0 record, 0.53 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 17 innings.
Porcello still struggling after solid July
DETROIT -- After a rough start to the season, things seemed to turn around for Rick Porcello, as he went 5-0 in July and allowed three runs or fewer in each start.
But problems have resurfaced for Porcello. After allowing eight runs, in 3 2/3 innings against Cleveland last week, Porcello said a mechanical issue affected his sinker and offspeed pitches and he had to make a fix. But the problem returned again Monday, as Porcello gave up six runs, four earned, in six innings.
"It's not a major thing at all," Porcello said Monday night. "It's one of those things where I thought I had it fixed in the first couple innings and as the game went on, I started getting back into bad habits. It takes the sink out of my fastball and starts running and staying in the zone. It wasn't nearly as bad as the last start. Tonight, I just think it was at times."
Not speaking about Porcello in particular, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said in-game adjustments can be difficult for young pitchers to make at this level.
"When a guy's at the big league level, really struggling, and that's not Porcello's case, but when a guy is in the big leagues and he's really, really struggling, it's hard to get fixed at the Major League level for a young guy," Leyland said. "A veteran guy is a little bit different, but for a young guy, it's hard to get fixed. I'm not talking about Porcello, I'm talking in general."
Leyland mentioned Brennan Boesch's second-half struggles last season to illustrate how difficult it is for young players to adjust at the Major League level. For a 22-year-old already in his third Major League season -- on a team fighting for a pennant -- the problems are under an even bigger microscope.
"Sometimes guys know what they're doing wrong, but for whatever reason, the brain and physical parts don't work together to fix it," Leyland said. "It's like when I play golf. I know what I'm doing wrong, I hook it, so I know I'm hooking it, but I still hook [it]."
Verlander to get extra day off
DETROIT -- Tigers fans hoping to see ace Justin Verlander take on the second-place Cleveland Indians this weekend will be disappointed, as Tigers manager Jim Leyland is sticking with his plan of giving Verlander an extra day of rest.
Leyland had scheduled this in advance and said Verlander would pitch in three of the last four series against the Indians, the first of which was last week -- when Verlander won the series finale.
"That's all for everybody else to talk about," Leyland said. "I've got to look out for his welfare. He's fine, but this makes a lot of sense. At the start of this, when we figured all this out, we figured out he could get Cleveland three out of four times, depending on what happens at the end. We're missing [Indians starter Justin] Masterson because of the rain thing over there and they brought him back after two days, so that's just the way it works out. But you've got to take care of him."
Verlander leads the Majors with 195 innings pitched. His single-season high is 240 innings in 2009. Since he became a regular starter in 2006, he has averaged about 210 innings pitched per season.
"We felt like we had to pick a couple spots to do that with the amount of innings he has," Leyland said. "I don't really know the answer. There's all kinds of theories on that. Normally if it works out all right and he stays fresh, then it was smart. If he doesn't, maybe six days got him out of [rhythm.] I don't believe in any of that.
"I think it's just what you do is common sense. I think he's pitched a lot. I think you've got to pick your spots, try to help him a little bit. We just think this time, and I think he'll get six [days] one more time before the season's over. "
Coke getting back on track
DETROIT -- After a move to the starting rotation and back, Tigers manager Jim Leyland feels Phil Coke is finally in sync.
Since allowing five combined runs in back-to-back appearances in late July, Coke hasn't given up a run in seven appearances in August. He has given up three hits and struck out nine batters in 5 1/3 innings.
"I think that you probably go through a process where you're disappointed that the starting thing didn't necessarily work out, so I think you probably go through that period of time," Leyland said. "I'm talking about emotionally. There's always a lot of things involved in that, but I think he seems to be coming out of the bullpen like the old Phil Coke. Like he knows he's back there and he's over the other stuff about the starting. He's just concentrating on the job at hand."
With Duane Below in the long-relief role and Daniel Schlereth's control still an issue, Coke is getting the call more and more often as the go-to lefty, as evidenced by seven appearances in 13 Tigers games this month.
"He's a big-time left-handed reliever and did well for us last year," Leyland said. "This guy's a talent, he's a very good talent. If he pitches to his capabilities, he's a total asset to us."
Leyland trying to get Avila rest
DETROIT -- Worried about running Alex Avila into the ground after the All-Star break, Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn't have a whole lot of options right now.
Victor Martinez injured his left knee in Kansas City last week and is unable to catch, leaving Avila as the only real catcher on the team. Utility player Don Kelly is the emergency catcher, but has made only one appearance behind the plate this season.
"Right now we're just in a little bit of a bind, and there's no sense belaboring the point, because there's no sense talking about it. ... We would either have to make a roster move to get another catcher, or go the way we are," Leyland said. "It's that simple. There's no sense belaboring this point."
After a rough July, Avila has found new life in August. He's hitting .415 with three home runs in 12 games -- all of which were played at catcher. And for at least the near future, Avila will be behind the plate almost every day.
Tigers sign 33 out of 50 Draft picks
DETROIT -- The Tigers officially announced the signing of 15th-round pick Tyler Gibson on Tuesday, along with 18th-round pick Brett Harrison of Green Valley (Nevada) High School. Those two deadline deals wrap up their draft with 33 out of 50 selections signed, including everyone in the top 20 rounds.
Considering the Tigers did not have a first-round pick this year, the fact that they were able to sign their top 19 selections, including a handful of high schoolers drafted on the second day who fell due in part to signability concerns, helped provide a better prospect haul.
The highest Tigers pick to not sign this year is 21st-rounder Scott Squier, a lanky left-hander who will play college ball at the University of Hawaii. Harrison was also slated to play at Hawaii, but opted to turn pro instead and agreed to terms on Monday. He gives the Tigers another potential shortstop or third-base prospect. He's projected as a strong fielder with hitting potential.
For the second time in as many weeks, Jacob Turner will get an extra turn of rest between starts. Tuesday would have been his turn to start for Triple-A Toledo, but the Mud Hens instead called up Ramon Garcia for the assignment. The move allows the Tigers to conserve innings with him between now and season's end. His next turn would be Sunday evening in Toledo against Louisville.
Miguel Cabrera has a 14-game hitting streak after two singles and three RBIs Tuesday night. It's his longest hitting streak of the season.
Tuesday's crowd of 40,589 marked the Tigers' ninth sellout of the season, and their fourth in their last eight home games. They've had six sellout crowds in 14 home games since the All-Star break.
Chris Vannini is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.