DETROIT -- In Tigers manager Jim Leyland's ideal scenario, he probably wouldn't have Adam Wilk sitting in his bullpen, waiting for an opportunity to pitch. But still, the Tigers had the chance to send Wilk down to make room for Magglio Ordonez's return from the disabled list, and they didn't.
Instead, Enrique Gonzalez is with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens again, and Wilk is still with the Tigers, a week after Detroit called him up to supposedly serve as a short-term fill-in while David Purcey was on paternity leave.
Though Gonzalez was a veteran long reliever who could warm up in a hurry and eat innings, the Tigers see a chance for Wilk to learn the ropes of relief up in the big leagues. Thus, the Tigers outrighted Gonzalez to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Ordonez and kept Wilk up.
That doesn't necessarily mean he's here for the long haul. Brad Thomas will begin his Minor League rehab assignment at Toledo on Tuesday, and it isn't clear yet how that will shake out. But Wilk has an opportunity.
"I think Adam Wilk is a prospect," Leyland said. "Truth be known, it would probably be better if Wilk was out pitching, but he's not at this particular time. He's getting his feet wet a little bit up here, and that doesn't hurt any. He's got a little experience under his belt, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a little unique, to be honest with you right now, to have four left-handers."
Leyland compared Wilk's work to the way the Tigers broke in Charlie Furbush a few weeks earlier. Furbush still works in long relief, but he also gets some specialty situations, opportunities that could increase the better he pitches.
"He's done OK," Leyland said of Wilk. "He's ideally probably a left-handed long guy to break him in the right way. Probably not necessarily good for the team, but probably good for him. He's an ideal left-handed long guy if you get behind early. It's not because you don't like him, but because that's how he can get some experience with a little less pressure on him."