Detroit — Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, the Tigers top two position player prospects, have been abusing Double-A pitching over the last seven days —
Greene is hitting .524 and slugging 1.24 with a 1.80 OPS with four homers and 12 RBIs. Torkelson is hitting .429 over the same stretch, slugging .905 with a 1.33 OPS, three home runs and seven RBIs.
But don’t even think about it. Neither is coming to the big leagues this September.
“We can squash that dream for this season,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Sunday. “We want them to develop fully in the minors and they are doing a great job.”
That’s not to say there won’t be a promotion for one or both. Late Sunday the Tigers announced they were promoting them to Triple-A Toledo, along with shortstop Ryan Kreidler.
“Whenever a big prospect has a good stretch like this, there’s always a curiosity on whether they need to be challenged at the next level,” Hinch said. “There is consideration to keep them in Double-A and keep them working and playing well. They’ve got a good thing going there and (Erie manager) Arnie Beyeler is doing a great job.
“There’s also an argument for giving them an uncomfortable setting of something new.”
September call-ups to the big leagues this season are limited to two players, so even some players at Triple-A who might otherwise deserve a call-up won’t be getting one.
“Nowadays the desire to push faster is always there,” Hinch said. “They are exciting prospects that are going to wear a big-league uniform hopefully soon. But we have to keep in mind that a true development track has them continuing with success and not responding too quickly to moving them.”
Hinch seemed to think a new challenge would be beneficial.
“The next level will teach them something that they’ve never experienced before,” he said. “Maybe it’s more off-speed pitches in Triple-A or you start having to do game-planning. Now you’re facing guys with Major League service time. That’s going to be new for them.”
So long, Buck Farmer
For the second time this season, the Tigers designated Buck Farmer for assignment. And this time, he’s not likely to come back.
“He was heartbroken,” Hinch said of his meeting with Farmer Saturday night. “He cares about his work and about being here. He experienced the fun crowds these past few games and we’re winning and he articulated all of that to me. He’s a real pro.
“I don’t know where this is going to take him. He’s going to find his way, most likely somewhere different. I loved having him here. Despite the up and down season, he’s one you want in your fox hole.”
Farmer, who has been with the Tigers since 2014, was the second-longest tenured player after Miguel Cabrera. But after being a trustworthy and versatile reliever the past few seasons, he struggled with his command this season.
His last outing Friday against the Indians was emblematic of his season. He pitched a scoreless inning, but he walked the bases loaded and needed 26 pitches.
“It was incredibly hard news to deliver,” Hinch said. “We were honest with him. Him being the odd man out is partly due to where we think we’re putting the best team together, but also the nature of where we’re at during the season and what we want to do for the remaining six or seven weeks of the regular season.”
The move was precipitated by adding veteran Drew Hutchison to the rotation. His contract was purchased from Toledo. Also, the Tigers are likely to bring up a batch of young relievers at some point – Alex Lange, Logan Shore, Will Vest, Jason Foley and Miguel Del Pozo would all be under consideration.
Ready or not?
The news on outfielder Daz Cameron is good but not great.
“He is still feeling some intermittent soreness,” Hinch said. “I think he’s going to be uncomfortable until he takes a big gap of time off. I’ve never had a toe injury, but guys who have talk about how it lingers for a long time.”
And it’s so easily re-aggravated, especially for a player like Cameron who relies so much on his legs. He’s played three games with Toledo — he had his rehab delayed by an ankle sprain, too —- and went 3 for 11. With Akil Baddoo (concussion) and Derek Hill (ribs) out, and Cameron being out since July 7, the Tigers were forced to hustle Willi Castro’s transition to left field.
“Daz is still reporting some symptoms of soreness, but he’s going to have to play through that,” Hinch said. “We’re going to eventually have to pull the trigger on whether or not to bring him back with soreness. But he’s reporting that he can play and he’s doing that. He’s moving fine, just every now and then it bites him.
“We’re being cautious, but we’re also letting him navigate what it’s going to be like the next six weeks playing with a sore foot.”
Around the horn
… Right-hander Julio Teheran (shoulder) had his most recent bullpen session in Lakeland shut down. The velocity on his pitches were far below big-league standards. It’s highly unlikely he will return this season.
… Right-hander Kyle Funkhouser stranded another runner in his 1.2 scoreless innings of work Saturday night. He has allowed just one of 19 inherited runners to score. He joins Dodgers Phil Bickford as the only relievers in the big leagues to have inherited at least 19 runners and allow only one to score.
… Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson was expected to be at Comerica Park Sunday. Which brought a smile from Hinch. “There’s two parts about Calvin Johnson that I love,” he said. “One, I spent a lot of Thanksgivings watching him score touchdowns and the eat some turkey after he was named player of the game. And two, he was a dominant fantasy football player of mine. I’d try to draft him every year.”