While Leyland was impressed with what he saw from the 22-year-old, the skipper said the young lefty needs more seasoning. Thus, the Tigers sent Oliver to Triple-A Toledo on Monday afternoon to make room for right-hander Armando Galarraga.
"He had trouble commanding his fastball and that gets you out of tilt," Leyland said. "He's really a good looking kid that's going to be a [heckuva] pitcher for the Tigers. I told him today, he should get to the point where he will win 15 to 20 games a year. But he's got to do it. That's how good I think he can be. I really like him a lot.
"He was here a little too fast, but that's OK. I think it was actually good for him. He's got an idea what it's like. He will be fine, absolutely fine."
The move brings back Galarraga ahead of his scheduled start Tuesday night against Texas. The Tigers optioned Galarraga to Toledo 1 1/2 weeks ago with the express intent of getting him some pitching time before rejoining the rotation. Galarraga pitched three scoreless innings of relief on Friday at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
With Oliver out, Rick Porcello officially remains in the Tigers' rotation after returning for what was originally characterized as a spot start on Saturday night at Cleveland. The Tigers haven't said when Porcello would start next, but his rotation spot would fall on Thursday afternoon against the Blue Jays at Comerica Park. Porcello pitched his way back with eight innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts against the Indians, by far the best performance by a Tigers pitcher over the weekend.
For Oliver, the move ends a five-start stint in the big leagues that showed his potential as a power left-handed starter, but also showed the learning curve he still has to make in his first full professional season. The 22-year-old gave up two earned runs over six innings in each of his first two starts, but lost them both, before struggling in each of his last three outings. He went 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA, allowing 18 earned runs on 26 hits over 22 innings with 13 walks and 18 strikeouts.
Jason Beck is a reporter and Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.