BOSTON -- Drew Smyly returned to the mound Tuesday with three scoreless innings after missing three weeks with a right intercostal strain. That in itself was big news in the Tigers' plans.
That return, however, came at Triple-A Toledo, where he figures to remain for the stretch run.
Smyly allowed two runs and two walks, striking out five batters. He threw 34 out of 59 pitches for strikes in the Mud Hens' eventual 7-3 win over Louisville at Fifth Third Field.
Smyly went on the disabled list coming out of the All-Star break, but the Tigers were already in the market for a starting pitcher before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Once Detroit acquired Anibal Sanchez from Miami on July 23, Smyly was ticketed for Toledo whenever he was ready.
Yet he's far from forgotten in the Tigers' plans. The fact that Detroit traded top pitching prospect Jacob Turner to Miami in that Sanchez deal not only makes Smyly the lynchpin of the Tigers' future pitching plans, but he is also their present insurance if a starter is somebody gets hurt.