DETROIT -- Tigers officials spent nearly an hour Thursday morning in discussions in the coaches' conference room at Comerica Park about a spot starter for Saturday. They ended up deciding on a guy who wasn't even in big league camp in the spring.
Kyle Ryan went from a 12-game winner at Class A Lakeland last year to mercurial starter at Double-A Erie this spring. Then he found a hot stretch at Triple-A Toledo after being promoted a month ago. Now, he has a spot start in the big leagues for one half of the Tigers' day-night doubleheader on Saturday against the White Sox in Chicago.
Ryan got the call over Buck Farmer, who made two starts for the Tigers this month but was knocked out in the second inning of his start in last Saturday's doubleheader at Minnesota.
The 22-year-old Ryan was already scheduled to start Saturday for the Mud Hens, putting his unbeaten record at Triple-A on the line. He's 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts at Toledo so far, allowing six earned runs on 21 hits over 33 innings with five walks and 20 strikeouts.
"He's left-handed," manager Brad Ausmus said in summary of his knowledge on him. "I haven't heard too much about him at this point. I do know he's been throwing the ball well as of late."
Ryan was the recommendation of player-development officials based off how he's been throwing the ball. The former 12th-round pick out of Auburndale (Fla.) High School, just outside Lakeland, Ryan has never been a high-strikeout pitcher, and his 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings marks his lowest rate as a pro in his fifth season. However, he limits his damage, and he's held left-handed hitters to a .204 average between Toledo and Erie.
The current plan calls for Ryan to start Saturday's nightcap. Max Scherzer had been scheduled to start that game in a matchup with White Sox ace Chris Sale, but switched up when the White Sox moved Sale to the afternoon tilt.
The Tigers will have to make room on the 40-man roster for Ryan. And unless they put Anibal Sanchez on the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season, they'll have to designate somebody for assignment to make room.