The Detroit Tigers made four roster moves Friday after a nine-game road trip, including recalling 26-year-old catching prospect Jake Rogers from Triple-A Toledo and designating eight-year MLB veteran reliever Buck Farmer for assignment.
The Tigers carry a 9-23 record, the worst mark in baseball.
Catcher Wilson Ramos was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar spine strain. He was removed from Thursday’s 12-9 loss to the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning and replaced by backup Grayson Greiner.
“Right now, we think it’s short term,” manager AJ Hinch said Friday about Ramos’ lower back injury. “But given the position, it left us no alternative. It was probably going to be through the weekend. He is day-to-day, in the sense that there are no further tests or diagnosis we need. He was going to be unavailable for at least half of the IL stint. The initial thought is this homestand.”
The Tigers called up Rogers to fill the open spot on the roster. It’s his first stint in the majors since 2019, when he hit .125 with four home runs across 35 games, with 13 walks and 51 strikeouts. He was acquired by Detroit in the 2017 Justin Verlander trade, along with outfielder Daz Cameron and righty Franklin Perez.
Rogers is the No. 14 prospect in the farm system, according to MLB Pipeline.
“He’s not a young kid anymore,” Hinch said. “He’s maturing and should be able to handle this.”
As much as the Tigers would have liked to see Rogers make the team out of spring training, he struggled offensively, going 3-for-22 (.136) in camp with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Rogers went 0-for-3 with one walk and three strikeouts in one game for Toledo this season. He played in Tuesday’s Opening Day but wasn’t in the lineup for Wednesday’s game and Thursday’s contest was rained out.
“It’s an opportunity for him,” Hinch said. “I know he’s going to handle the catching fine. I know he’s going to be able to control the running game. There’s going to be a microscope on his bat, so we’ll see. It’s going to be a timeshare (between) him and Grayson over the next week.”
Poor results from Farmer this season forced the organization to designate him for assignment. Farmer, 30, is out of minor-league options, so he had to be removed from the 40-man roster. He must clear waivers before heading to Toledo.
Hinch informed Farmer he would be removed from the roster Thursday night, after returning to Detroit from Boston. Farmer has allowed 15 earned runs across 10⅔ innings, for a 12.66 ERA, with nine walks and 10 strikeouts in 12 appearances this season.
“We wanted to get a fresh arm here,” Hinch said. “We’ll see where it takes Buck’s career, whether it’s with us or with somebody else. I have no doubt that he can figure it out. He’s got talent and a good arm, but it wasn’t happening for him multiple times in a row. It became troublesome for us.”
The right-handed reliever has appeared in 217 games for the Tigers through parts of the last eight seasons, beginning in 2014. He was a mainstay in the bullpen from 2018-20 and recorded a 3.72 ERA and 3.80 ERA in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, respectively.
“As it trickled out and guys started to understand, everybody feels a sense of loss,” Hinch said. “And everybody feels a sense of awareness of their own situation. That’s just natural for players to think about Buck and what he’s mean to them or what he’s mean to us.
“Where they take it from here? I don’t know. We don’t want our players focused on what possibly could happen if they don’t play well. We got to get our players to play with freedom. We got to get our players to play with some looseness that will allow them to play better.”
To fill Farmer’s spot, the Tigers called up right-handed reliever Erasmo Ramirez. He has nine seasons of MLB experience, most recently with the New York Mets in 2020. This spring, Ramirez, 31, logged a 0.68 ERA, three walks and 11 strikeouts across 13⅓ innings.
Ramirez owns a career 4.31 ERA. Although he has started 92 of his 199 career games, the Tigers will use him as a reliever. He tossed two scoreless innings in relief Tuesday in Toledo, racking up two strikeouts.
“He is a strike-thrower who is not afraid of contact,” Hinch said. “He’s not afraid of competition. He’s a veteran guy. I love that fact that he stayed in our organization after being disappointed and not making our team (during spring training). … He’s a worker. He’s a good team guy. He throws strikes. He’s been around. He’s just going to find a way to get some outs.”
Injury updates: Mazara, Holland, Perez
Outfielder Nomar Mazara is nearing the end of his rehab stint in Toledo. He was scheduled to play right field in Game 1 of a doubleheader Friday for the Mud Hens. After the game, Hinch plans to call Mazara to determine whether he is ready to return. He was placed on the 10-day injured list April 15 with a left abdominal strain.
“He may need another game or two,” Hinch said. “He may be ready after tonight. But that’s going to be determined after we see how he feels and how he does today in the game.”
Left-handed reliever Derek Holland went to the 10-day injured list Thursday, retroactive to Monday, with a left shoulder strain. He has a 13.00 ERA with six walks and nine strikeouts in nine innings across eight appearances.
“The initial plan is to not throw for a couple days and let any sort of inflammation, any sort of soreness get out of there,” Hinch said. “He’s been in the training room quite a bit the last couple of days. Eventually, get back into a throwing program. It’s not concerned long-term. I don’t think there’s a need to see a specialist or any sort of testing. … Obviously, he will be out for 10 days at least but not much longer than that.”
Instead of joining High-A West Michigan, Franklin Perez — another of the three prospects picked up in the 2017 Verlander trade — went to the injured list Tuesday with a right shoulder capsule defect. The 23-year-old met with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Thursday to gather more information.
“We just had a brief conversation about it,” Hinch said. “I think we’ll have an announcement of what’s going on with him in the next 24-48 hours.”
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.