September call-ups aren't a Leyland favorite

The SportsXchange

Rosters expand in less than two weeks (Sept. 1) but don't look for much from Detroit. If the Tigers had an impact player, he'd already be with the team.

Manager Jim Leyland isn't a fan of roster expansion anyway.

"It doesn't make any sense to me to play by certain rules for five months and then the biggest month of the season, particularly this year with all the teams involved in the wild card, one team has 10 extra guys and another team has five," he said. "They say, well, you can bring up 10 if you want. That's not the point. The point is, you work all year as a manager to get a matchup; you can't get a matchup in September. When you bring in a left-handed pitcher to face a left-handed hitter, they got six guys. You bring in a right-hander, then they pinch-hit a left-hander. It doesn't make sense to me. I think it's a foolish rule."

Were it up to Leyland -- and he has pushed for it without success -- baseball would adopt the hockey system of having healthy scratches. A team could call up as many players as it wished, but it would have to name the 25 it could use for any one game.

"I was hoping they would do something like that," Leyland said. "Myself, if everybody went to 28, that wouldn't bother me at all. I think that's fine. That's just my feeling, but any manager who does a pretty good job of managing all year, and then at the biggest month of the year, he loses some of his ability to maneuver."

Detroit is almost certain to bring up Bryan Holaday, up for two weeks earlier this year when Alex Avila was on the disabled list, because it currently doesn't even have an emergency catcher on its roster to back up Avila and Gerald Laird.

Infielder Danny Worth seems destined to make his sixth trip from Toledo to Detroit, too. Lucky Worth (or unlucky, depending ...) -- he'll be out of options next year so will have to make the team or get waived.

Utility man Don Kelly could be brought back but because he was waived off the 40-man roster; that will depend on whether the Tigers want to cut a current roster member or not.

Ryan Raburn is on the disabled list with a right thumb sprain, and his health and how well he's hitting will determine when he returns.

The Tigers have four lefties at Toledo who have pitched for the club already -- Drew Smyly, Duane Below, Casey Crosby and Adam Wilk -- and could bring any or all of them back. Smyly and Below are the most likely.

As for precocious rookies Nick Castellanos, Bruce Rondon and Avisail Garcia, the first two are extremely unlikely to be called up because they are not on the 40-man roster. Castellanos has slumped this month, and the feeling is he still isn't ready, plus he needs more time learning to play right field.

Garcia is on the roster, though, and could be brought up to provide a right-handed threat against hard throwers ... and to show him how much he still needs to learn.

Leyland lets upper management make the decision on who comes up, which will likely be determined this week. He prefers not to have players cluttering up the clubhouse. The key will be whether management feels they can help the club win even one game, which could be the difference between postseason and going home.
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