DETROIT -- After three blowouts like the Tigers have suffered against the A's, somebody was going to have to make room for a fresh arm in the bullpen. It ended up being Jose Alvarez.
The left-handed starter turned reliever will be back when the Triple-A Toledo season ends on Monday, manager Jim Leyland said. But for now, Alvarez is optioned out to make room for Luke Putkonen, who hasn't pitched in a game since Sunday.
"It's for obvious reasons," Leyland said. "We're short a little in the bullpen."
It doesn't mean they're expecting to need extra arms when Max Scherzer takes the mound Thursday looking for his 20th win. But the Tigers weren't expecting the A's to rough up Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander or Doug Fister, either.
"We're not looking to have this situation," Leyland said, "but you never know."
It'll be the third stint with Detroit this season for Putkonen, who spent just over two months in the Tigers' bullpen before he was optioned July 30 to make room for Jose Veras. The 27-year-old has given up seven earned runs on 20 hits over 20 2/3 innings, walking seven and striking out 17.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.