NEW YORK -- It's official: Dontrelle Willis will make his first rehab start on Friday for Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers finalized their plans for Willis' Minor League rehab stint on Wednesday.
Manager Jim Leyland said the team wanted to check Wednesday afternoon and see how Willis felt after throwing a full side session in the visiting bullpen at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. Willis said he felt fine, and the Tigers set his plans.
The Mud Hens are at home Friday to face Rochester, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. It'll mark the left-hander's first game action since April 11, when he hyperextended his right knee slipping off of the mound at Chicago.
Willis is likely to make at least two rehab starts to make sure he's comfortable on the mound and ready to face Major League hitters, but it should also give him a chance to work on his command, an issue that surfaced late in Spring Training and continued into the season. He walked seven batters over five-plus innings in his regular-season Tigers debut against the White Sox on April 5 at Comerica Park, then walked both batters he faced in the return engagement on the night he was injured. That totaled up to nine walks out of 80 batters faced.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.