LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers outrighted left-hander Macay McBride to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday, a move that amounts to an acknowledgment that he needs a little more time to work his way back into game shape from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
The move is very much procedural. Under Major League rules, any player who's still on the big league roster and in camp from Saturday onward would have to go on the Major League disabled list if they're injured. Under that scenario, McBride not only would've continued to gain Major League salary and service time toward arbitration eligibility, but the Tigers also would've faced a decision once he's healthy after an expected Minor League rehab assignment -- put him on the 25-man roster or outright him. By outrighting him now, while he's still working his way back from injury, the Tigers were almost assured that no team would try to claim him on waivers.
McBride pitched only one inning last season before being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his elbow. By having surgery last April, he gave himself a better chance to be ready for the start of this season.
For the first few weeks of Spring Training, he had a chance. He was cleared to work out and throw without restriction, and he appeared in a couple games early in the Spring Training schedule. However, he experienced lingering elbow tightness after a long outing against the Pirates on March 1. A precautionary exam from a team doctor showed no structural damage, but his throwing program was put on hold.
The moves reduces Detroit's Spring Training roster to 48, including five players currently on the World Baseball Classic.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.