DETROIT -- Ryan Perry doesn't see himself as a key cog to the Tigers' bullpen, just one of seven Detroit relievers. Manager Jim Leyland, however, was eagerly awaiting the chance to plug him back into the relief picture. He got it Saturday, when the Tigers activated Perry from the 15-day disabled list. "He gives us a little more artillery down there," Leyland said. Just as important, with Joel Zumaya out for the season, Perry gives them a little more setup capability, even for somebody in just his second full pro season.
Perry last pitched with the Tigers on June 6 before being diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo a week ago, but encountered some struggles along the way. His second rehab outing on Tuesday saw him throw just 16 of 36 pitches for strikes. Perry said Saturday it was a matter of shaking off the rust from not pitching in games for about three weeks. "I was definitely feeling good," Perry said. "It was just me kind of being amped up, ready to get out there and eager to try to get back. It was definitely a little rust. Not throwing to hitters for three weeks can do that to someone." Perry backed up that point by pitching a scoreless eighth inning Saturday with a walk and a strikeout. Leyland made no secret about his desire to have Perry back soon, but also emphasized that the club needs Perry to be effective. Perry's return took on added importance when Zumaya suffered a season-ending fractured elbow last Monday at Minnesota. But Perry isn't playing up his importance. "Honestly, everyone who came up has been doing a great job," Perry said. "Yes, that's a bad loss that we never wanted to happen, but the people who came up did their jobs and got people out." Still, Perry has more capability of that in key situations than most. He protected a good share of leads in the eighth inning at the start of the year before command issues and consistency put his situation in a bit of flux. His perfect innings with two strikeouts for Toledo on Friday night went a long way towards restoring confidence; Perry threw nine of his 13 pitches for strikes and topped out at 96 mph with his fastball, according to reports. For the year, the 23-year-old Perry owns a 1-4 record and 5.56 ERA, having allowed 22 hits over 22 2/3 innings, with 13 walks and 19 strikeouts. To make room on the active roster, Detroit optioned right-hander Casey Fien to Toledo. Fien, who was recalled Tuesday when Zumaya went on the DL, pitched two scoreless innings in his lone appearance Wednesday at Minnesota.