Manager Jim Leyland said a few times last week during the winter caravan that the Detroit Tigers have six starting pitchers. But if they trade Rick Porcello, they would have five: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Drew Smyly. There are several others who could emerge as a possible starter this spring or over the course of the season. Candidates are Casey Crosby, Luke Putkonen, Duane Below, Shawn Hill, Jose Alvarez, Trevor Bell and Kyle Lobstein. Hill, Alvarez and Bell were invited to spring training. Hill, 31, has 44 starts over seven major league seasons. Bell, 26, made 11 starts in 52 games for the Angels in 2009-11. Alvarez, 23, is a left-hander who missed last season with a torn labrum. Crosby, 24, is a 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-hander. He struck out 112 in 125 2/3 innings and was 7-9 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts at Triple-A Toledo. He was roughed up in three starts last season for the Tigers, allowing 13 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings. Putkonen, 26, is a 6-6, 210-pound right-hander. He had 46 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings and 24 games with a 4.92 ERA for Toledo last season, including two starts. He had a 3.94 ERA in 12 games for the Tigers. Below, 27, is a 6-3, 220-pound left-hander. He had a 3.88 ERA in 27 games last season for the Tigers, including one start. Lobstein (6-3, 200), acquired from the Mets after they selected him in the Rule 5 draft, could make the team as a left-handed reliever and could be a spot starter, if necessary.
Even after first six, Tigers' rotation has plenty of backup
Detroit Free Press | Feb 1