DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Tigers are set to debut a new pitching coach in Jeff Jones.
His first game in charge of the staff will also be the first career start for Charlie Furbush.
Furbush will replace a demoted Phil Coke in the rotation when the Tigers start a three-game road series Monday night against the surging Los Angeles Angels.
Detroit (45-40) fired pitching coach Rick Knapp after Sunday’s 6-3 win over San Francisco and replaced him with bullpen coach Jones. The Tigers completed a 5-5 homestand in which their starters failed to get through the fifth inning four times and their bullpen yielded three runs or more four times.
“Mixed emotions, obviously,” manager Jim Leyland said. “We just felt like it wasn’t working.”
Jones has been with the Tigers since 1989 when he started as a Single-A pitching coach. He had four stints as pitching coach at Triple-A Toledo.
“Jeff Jones has been part of the organization for a long time,” general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Tigers’ official website. “He’s very knowledgeable, knows all our pitchers. He’s in a position where he’s been a very loyal employee for a long time, and we think he’ll step up and do a solid job for us.”
The move was made Thursday to drop Coke from the rotation and insert Furbush (1-1, 2.49 ERA), who has made 12 relief appearances as a rookie. Coke went 1-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 14 starts.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Furbush,” Leyland said, “but I’m smart enough to know right now that it just wasn’t working with Phil.”
Furbush, a left-hander like Coke, is limiting hitters to a .257 average with 17 strikeouts and nine walks over 21 2-3 innings.
“It should be fun,” Furbush said. “I’ve been a starter my whole career, so I’m just going to do the same thing I’ve always done, get back into that routine.”
Los Angeles (44-41) has won 13 of 18 by capturing six straight series to move into a tie atop the AL West. The Angels won two of three at home over the weekend against the Dodgers.
Torii Hunter was out of the lineup the last two games due to a bruised left hand suffered in the opener when he was hit by a pitch. He played right field for the final two innings in Sunday’s 3-1 victory and could be back in the lineup Monday.
“Hopefully if he continues to improve, he’ll be ready to play tomorrow,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official website.
The Angels have won the last four starts by Joel Pineiro (3-3, 4.14), who is 1-0 with a 5.01 ERA in that span. He did not get a decision after allowing four runs over 5 2-3 innings in last Tuesday’s 11-5 win over Washington.
The veteran right-hander went 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA in his first six starts against Detroit before going 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA in his last five. Magglio Ordonez is 11 for 28 (.393) against him.
Detroit went 6-4 against Los Angeles last year.
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