As the Detroit Tigers continue to play things safe with injured starter Doug Fister, MLive.com's James Schmehl is reporting that the team already has tabbed left-hander Drew Smyly as a fill-in for Saturday's game if Fister can't take the mound.
The Tigers yanked Smyly after just one inning in his start with Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday in what appeared to be an odd development, as they plan to keep him as ready as possible for a potential spot-start on Saturday with the Angels. Why Smyly went out to throw a mere inning is anyone's guess, but it's clear that there's a good deal of concern over Fister's injury if the team would make such a knee-jerk mid-game move like this.
Though Fister himself told the media he was improving on Wednesday, Tigers athletic trainer Kevin Rand stressed that his 6'8" hurler still has not been able to throw off a mound just yet. "There's still some soreness in there," Rand said, "so we've got to be smart with it."
Until the final verdict comes back on Fister's status for the weekend, Detroit looks prepared to keep their 23-year-old prospect stashed away at the Triple-A level as an emergency plan. Smyly churned out a rather impressive 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings over 15 starts earlier in the year, however, and would definitely be a solid option if Fister is forced to miss significant time.