DETROIT -- A year after Al Alburquerque stepped up as the big-strikeout specialist in the Tigers bullpen, he's about to get another shot. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed to reporters Friday that the slider-flinging right-hander will be among the club's September callups this weekend.
Alburquerque was the only September callup the Tigers announced Friday, not counting Avisail Garcia, who was called up Friday. The rest of the callups will be announced Saturday.
Alburquerque won't join the big club until Sunday, because Detroit optioned him last week. Even when rosters expand, players optioned must wait 10 days before they can be recalled unless they're replacing somebody placed on the disabled list.
Once he arrives, Alburqueurque is expected to play a big role.
"It's like making a big trade acquisition, to me," Dombrowski said.
Alburquerque spent the better part of four weeks at Triple-A Toledo working back into game shape, his final step after undergoing elbow surgery last December. He allowed two runs on nine hits over 10 2/3 innings at Toledo, walking four and striking out 18. Fifteen of those strikeouts came over his last six outings, covering 7 2/3 innings.
"His slider's just gotten more snap as we've gone along," Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. "Each day, he's gotten better and better command."
Alburquerque struck out the side against Indianapolis on Wednesday, his second outing in as many nights and the final test to make sure his arm was ready. Once his arm felt fine Thursday, he was ready.
"Right now, I feel strong," Alburquerque said after that outing. "Sometimes I feel sore, but I know I can throw in the game. I feel strong. I feel happy for everything I have right now.