By Will Burchfield
It was a cup of coffee and not much more for Joe Jimenez in his first stint in the big leagues.
Jimenez was sent down to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday just three days after being called up to Detroit. To take his place on the roster, the Tigers purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher William Cuevas from Triple-A Toledo.
Detroit is set to open a three-game series in Cleveland on Friday night and needed reinforcements in the bullpen after long reliever Anibal Sanchez was blasted in a 35-pitch outing on Thursday.
“We need someone who can go multiple innings,” said Brad Ausmus. “If something happens tomorrow with (starter) Daniel Norris early in the game, we won’t make it nine innings — unless Andrew Romine toes the rubber.”
Romine made an emergency relief appearance for the Tigers last year.
The Tigers had a successful homestand, winning five of seven, but leaned heavily on their bullpen.
“We have an off day on Monday, which obviously helps to push the reset button and everyone gets a day off,” Ausmus said. “Cuevas is a long-man so that helps us in the near term. He was a starter in Toledo so he can go six innings if necessary.”
Signed by the Tigers last November, Cuevas, 26, made his first appearance for Toledo on Monday, tossing six innings of shutout ball. He pitched in three games for the Red Sox in 2016.
Jimenez was able to make his much-anticipated MLB debut on Thursday. With the Tigers trailing the Twins 11-5 in the ninth, he entered the game and retired the side in order.
“He was fine,” Ausmus said. “It’s good to get your feet wet. That was the type of game to get his feet wet, wasn’t a lot on the line.”
Speaking through a translator after the game, Jimenez said he understands the Tigers’ decision to send him back to Toledo.
“It’s a part of the game, it’s a business,” he said. “But I still have a positive mindset about it. I’m just going to continue to work hard to try to get back up here.”
He added later, “I feel as though God has a plan for me. If this is the way the journey’s going to go then that’s okay.”
Asked what he learned over the past four days, Jimenez replied, “Mucho.”
“It meant a lot to me, especially from my fellow teammates talking baseball with them and learning from them. It meant a lot to be up here,” he said.