MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers have leaned heavily on their relievers over the past week. After Friday's conga line from the bullpen, they decided to get a fresh arm on the roster.
On Saturday, the team recalled right-handed reliever Jose Ortega from Triple-A Toledo and optioned rookie righty Justin Miller to Toledo. Miller had posted a 1.69 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in four appearances this season, but he'd been used three times in the past five days, a symptom of a potential greater concern for Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
In the last week, the Tigers' bullpen was called on 22 times and threw a combined 18 2/3 innings. On Friday, five relievers combined to cover the final four innings after starter Rick Porcello failed to record an out in the sixth inning against the Twins. Miller gave up a run and two hits, but he also allowed two inherited runners to score while getting two outs in the sixth inning.
Add it all up, and becomes evident the Tigers needed some new blood for the immediate future.
"We ran through so many arms. It wasn't anything that Justin did," Ausmus said. "It had nothing to do with how Justin pitched [Friday] night. He'd pitched well the previous two outings. It was just, we needed help in the bullpen."
Ortega, 25, has appeared in 13 games over the past two years for Detroit. This year, he's 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in eight outings for Toledo. But those aren't the numbers that interest his new manager.
"He throws 95-97 [mph]," Ausmus said with a grin. "Big arm."
Ausmus also said he likes the fact that Ortega can throw multiple innings if needed. Ortega's plane landed in Minneapolis on Saturday morning and he should be available immediately.
Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.