Tigers option Schlereth, call up Weber

Tigers option Schlereth, call up Weber

Tigers option Schlereth, call up Weber
DETROIT -- Daniel Schlereth came to camp early this spring looking to better his pitch command and finally make a home in the Tigers' bullpen. Two weeks into the season, he has to wonder where his command has gone.

The lack of command, meanwhile, has landed Schlereth back in Triple-A Toledo for a third consecutive year.

When the Tigers optioned Schlereth to the Mud Hens between games of Saturday's day-night doubleheader, the main reason was to open up a spot for an extra pitcher in case they need more long relief over the weekend. That's why Detroit summoned right-handed starter Thad Weber from the Hens.

Realistically, however, this was a move designed for Schlereth as well. Even with the experience he picked up the last couple summers in Detroit, he has struggled from the outset in 2012 like someone who needed to polish his game in a lower-pressure environment.

"We like him," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He just consistently hasn't thrown strikes for us, mostly with his fastball at this point. The second half of [last] year, he had settled down, and he did that."

Schlereth went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA after the All-Star break, allowing five walks on 14 hits over 23 1/3 innings despite 12 walks. He took that success home with him over the offseason and made a point to better control his fastball.

Once the season started, it didn't seem to stick. After two innings and a run against the Red Sox on April 8, Schlereth walked five batters over his last four outings, helping set up damage on bigger hits.

As a lefty specialist, Schlereth wasn't bad in limited meetings, holding opponents to 3-for-13 with a home run. Right-handers, however, went 11-for-21 with five walks, basically reaching base safely two-thirds of the time through Friday. The capper came Friday, when Rangers righties went 5-for-7 with two walks en route to five runs and three outs.

"He's just struggling," manager Jim Leyland said. "He just hasn't been in sync since Day 1."

Schlereth didn't argue.

"I don't know if you want to say you expect something like that," Schlereth said of the move, "but, geez, look at my numbers. I feel like I've given up runs every time out. That's not good. I don't want to continue to struggle. When I pitch, I've usually been putting the game out of reach for us. So I understand the move."