Mud Hens Pitching Coach Praises Alburquerque Before Call-Up

By Ashley Dunkak

TOLEDO (CBS DETROIT) – Touted by his Toledo pitching coach A.J. Sager for becoming more and more consistent with every start for the Mud Hens, righty Al Alburquerque will now get to test his ability at the show.

Alburquerque got the major league call-up Friday when struggling Detroit closer Jose Valverde was designated for assignment.

Sager said that while the quality of Alburquerque’s slider never diminished, the consistency was a bit off when he first came to Toledo. In his 10 games there, however, the consistency returned.

“He’s gotten a chance to pitch quite a bit for us, and it seems like every time out he just looks a little bit sharper and a little bit sharper,” Sager said. “His last three or four times out, he’s really been borderline dominant, and a lot of it is his slider is coming around to where the command of that is back where we think it should be, and he’s also doing a better job using his fastball in the strike zone.”

Sager, who spent five years as a major league pitcher, said he always enjoys telling a player that his chance at the big leagues has arrived.

“That’s the part that never has gotten old,” Sager said. “I was fortunate enough to get told that news at one point in my life, and I realized how exciting it is, and so when you’re able to pass that news on and see how players react, basically give them the news that one of their big dreams is coming true, that’s something that never gets old. You hope to be able to do it a whole lot.”


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