For every pitcher added to a roster, whether it be the 25 or 40-man, another has to go to make room. So with Bruce Rondon and Jose Valverde now with the Tigers, Brayan Villarreal has been demoted to Toledo and Duane Below has been removed from the 40-man roster and designated for assignment. Villarreal was 0-2 with a 20.77 ERA in seven appearances for the Tigers this season. Control being his nemesis, he walked eight in 4.1 innings. Below, a Britton, Mich., native, was 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts for Toledo. Villarreal went down to the minors with a simple list of instructions. "Very cordial, very nice, very simple and very honest," manager Jim Leyland said of the list. "You have to command your fastball better and you have to get more consistency with your slider. Those were no-brainers. "But I don't want anybody to think that all of a sudden we're off Villarreal. He was, at times, lights out in spring training, and at times, lights out last year. Right now, he's helter-skelter, throwing hard, but not quite sure where it's going." How can he correct those flaws? "First thing is he needs to put hitters away when he gets ahead," Leyland said. "But he also has to develop that slider where he gets in a groove with it. "He has a fastball that he's very proud of, and should be, but it's a fastball that will get usable when you can locate it." In other words, it wasn't usable — because he wasn't locating it. "He was up here last year and did a good job for a while," Leyland said. "I just think he's a high-energy guy who needs to slow the game down." "I think he can, but I don't think he has. He just needs to let things happen. But he should be an outstanding major-league relief pitcher, in my opinion, if he can do those things." As for Below, Leyland said "he was pitching well (at Toledo). When it comes to adding or subtracting from the roster, I don't deal with that end of it, but I know he was pitching very well. So we'll just see what happens."
Tigers, manager Jim Leyland not giving up on reliever Brayan Villarreal
Detroit News | Apr 25