Casey Crosby has had a taste of major league life. It's how he digests it that will determine whether he'll be able to eat up more innings in Detroit.
Crosby was optioned back to Class AAA Toledo after pitching 3 2/3 innings Friday night. He will take back with him some advice from manager Jim Leyland, who doesn't feel Crosby's three games of experience with the Tigers were a bad thing despite his 9.49 ERA and 1-1 record.
"It's always good to see the speed of the game up here," Leyland said, "but (improvement) depends on what you do with it.
"He's got to be able to command (his fastball) at 92-93 (mph). It can't be 88-89. Not up here."
Crosby has a very good fastball for a left-hander, and his curveball and changeup are better than the minor league scouting reports had indicated. However, he displayed some uncertainty, especially when he had a couple of runners reach base.
The Colorado Rockies opened the third inning Friday with three consecutive hits, producing two runs, and right away Crosby became tentative, walking the next two hitters. A forceout at the plate and a double play got him out of the inning, but in the third, he gave up a one-out single and then a two-out home run. When he walked the next batter, he was out of the game.
"He hasn't done terrible," Leyland said, "but if you look at it professionally, he's just not ready. He's got 93-95 in his back pocket (with his fastball).
"I think he's a little concerned about being able to throw it over (at that velocity).
"His bullpen sessions (in Toledo) are going to be important. You can see he's guiding the ball at times, trying to throw it for a strike. That just doesn't play up here.
"As he matures, he'll do better."
But it will now be back at Toledo, where he will pitch with the knowledge of what he has to do to survive and possibly thrive in the majors.