He didn’t, so now the AL Central-leading Tigers will take their chances on a pitcher making his major league debut.
Detroit goes for its third straight victory Saturday afternoon when it continues its interleague set with the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers at Comerica Park.
After returning May 13 following a stint on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder, Willis—a two-time All-Star and the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year—went 1-4 with a 7.49 ERA in seven starts. He was placed back on the DL on Thursday.
“I’ve got to find a way to get the ball in play or Skip (Jim Leyland) is going to have to find somebody to do it,” Willis said after walking a career-high eight over 3 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh.
Detroit (36-31) hopes that person is rookie Alfredo Figaro(notes). In 11 starts at Double-A Erie, Figaro was 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA. The 24-year-old right-hander, a cousin of Tigers closer Fernando Rodney(notes), had 59 strikeouts in 68 innings for the SeaWolves.
“He’s a talented kid,” Leyland told the team’s official Web site. “Is he ready? I don’t know.”
The Tigers will try to build on Friday’s rain-shortened 10-4 win over Milwaukee (37-30). After averaging 3.5 runs and 7.4 hits per game on a 5-6 road trip that ended Thursday against St. Louis, the Tigers had 11 hits.
“Everybody was swinging the bat pretty well,” Thames said following his eighth career multihomer game.
Cabrera’s ball was ruled a home run in the third after a replay showed it cleared the fence. Dusty Ryan(notes), called up from Triple-A Toledo on Friday to take Willis’ roster spot, had an RBI double in the fourth after the initial home run call was overturned following another replay.
Milwaukee, which had its three-game winning streak snapped, sends right-hander Dave Bush(notes) (3-3, 5.31 ERA) to the mound. Bush will try to bounce back from his worst outing of the season after matching a career high with eight runs allowed in 3 1-3 innings of a 14-12 win at Cleveland on Monday.
“Somehow mechanically I’m out of sync,” said Bush, 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in his last five starts.
Bush is 0-1 with an 11.05 ERA in two career starts against Detroit. He last faced the Tigers in 2005 when pitching for Toronto.
Ryan Braun went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after tightness in his lower back forced him to leave in the eighth of Wednesday’s 9-8, 11-inning win over the Indians.