Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 7-20-11
Leyland makes tough call and demotes Wells
A manager can have compassion.
Jim Leyland had to do something after Detroit’s 8-3 win over Oakland that he did not relish; he had to tell Casper Wells, who made the opening day roster, he was being sent back to the minors.
Wells played well as a defensive replacement and occasional starter. In 64 games he hit .257 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 113 at-bats.
“It’s a shame,” Leyland said, “because he doesn’t deserve to go down. He’s played well. He’s done a good job.”
He was sent down because Detroit had to remove a position player to add a pitcher, rookie lefty Duane Below, who is starting Wednesday night against Oakland. The Tigers had to send out a position player because they added a position player before the All-Star Game (the since-returned Danny Worth) when they sent Charlie Furbush to the minors because they wouldn’t need a fifth starter until Wednesday.
Furbush, it turned out, was brought back with Below. Rookie southpaw Adam Wilk went back to Toledo.
The decision came down to either Wells or rookie Andy Dirks, with Dirks winning out primarily because he hits left-handed.
“We felt if we rest Magglio (Ordonez) against a righty, then we have Dirks in the outfield,” Leyland said. “(Wells) just got the short end of the stick. There’s logic, but there’s no good reason. It’s a crying shame really. He’s done a good job.
“He’s a lock to come back in September. But if something happens, he goes down and plays well, he comes back sooner. But that doesn’t do him any good tonight. I felt bad for the kid.
“We tossed and turned on this one. We talked about what made more sense. We knew this was coming. I said last week we had some tough decisions coming.
“The pitching decision wasn’t so tough, but the position player, that’s one that managers don’t like.”
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