Assistant pitching coach Juan Nieves entered the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse and exited alongside right-handed reliever Wily Peralta. Less than an hour later, manager A.J. Hinch announced his roster decision.
The return of left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez — who had been on the restricted list since June 13 — to the Tigers on Friday meant one of his teammates would be removed from the 26-man and 40-man roster.
Peralta, a 33-year-old veteran, was designated for assignment.
"Very difficult conversation," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He handled it like a pro, and he's done nothing wrong. This time of year, you have to make tough decisions if you want to take a look at a different group of pitchers."
In 2022, Peralta posted a 2.58 ERA with 24 walks and 32 strikeouts across 38⅓ innings in 28 games as a relief pitcher. He started 18 of his 19 appearances for the Tigers in 2021, logging a 3.07 ERA with 38 walks and 58 strikeouts in 93⅔ innings.
Peralta pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers (2012-17) and Kansas City Royals (2018-19) before joining the Tigers in 2021. He signed minor-league contracts in February 2021 and March 2022. Both years he quickly ascended to the majors.
"I wasn't using him in a role that made sense for the next six weeks," Hinch said. "This also gives us the optionality of maybe moving a couple different guys up and down in that role over the next six weeks. Maybe guys on the roster, maybe some guys not on the roster. But again, he did nothing wrong."
The Tigers also moved right-hander Garrett Hill and left-hander Daniel Norris to the bullpen, as the team shifts to a four-man rotation for the remainder of August. The rotation includes Rodriguez, Matt Manning, Tyler Alexander and Drew Hutchison.
After Thursday's off day, the Tigers have three more off days this month.
"We're going to give Wily a chance to pitch somewhere else while we look at some guys that are more likely to be here," Hinch said. "Garrett Hill, specifically, in a swing role where I'll protect his innings in the bullpen but still have him come out of the bullpen."
Hill has pitched 42⅔ innings across eight starts for the Tigers in 2022. The 26-year-old rookie has a 4.22 ERA, 18 walks and 21 strikeouts. He also tossed 32 innings for Double-A Erie and 37⅔ innings for Triple-A Toledo. His stops for all three teams total 112⅓ innings.
"He's answered every question that we've had about where he fits," Hinch said of Hill. "I'm going to use him. I'll give him plenty of time to get up. You want see him inherit base runners right away. I'm not going to pitch him back-to-back. There's going to be some restrictions that we put on ourselves to have him stay up here and learn at this level.
"The easy thing would have been to option him down and apologize to him for having options. We think him being up here with (Nieves and pitching coach Chris Fetter) and being at the major-league level is something he's earned."
Norris, a 29-year-old veteran, signed a minor-league contract with the Tigers in late July and has started a pair of games in August, allowing one run on eight hits and four walks with five strikeouts across 9⅔ innings.
He also played for the Tigers from 2015-21.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers DFA Wily Peralta; starting rotation down to 4-man