Tigers send Dolis to Minor League camp, option Farmer

Tigers send Dolis to Minor League camp, option Farmer

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers bullpen competition is down two more contestants.

Granted, Buck Farmer and Rafael Dolis looked like they were on the outside looking in, especially in recent days. But the latest round of cuts from Tigers camp provides a little more clarity on the competition.

The Tigers optioned Farmer to Triple-A Toledo and assigned Dolis, a non-roster invite, to minor-league camp. Both will likely end up on the Mud Hens pitching staff.

Farmer will go back to starting pitching duty in Toledo, where he made two starts late last season. He also made just two starts at Double-A Erie, giving rise to the thought that he might go back to the SeaWolves to get more seasoning.

However, the Tigers are going to give him a push. That decision came from the front office, not from manager Brad Ausmus or his staff.

"We think he has a very bright future," Ausmus said of the 24-year-old. "He's quite a bit ahead of schedule, if you look at his career path."

Said Farmer: "It's a new day over there. I'll go right into it. The hardest part is going to be adjusting [to the pitch count], getting back to throwing 50-60 pitches instead of 12."

Farmer joins Kyle Lobstein, Drew VerHagen, Tim Melville and Thad Weber in a potential Mud Hens rotation. The bullpen has enough depth that some guys will either have to be dropped or sent back to Erie.

Dolis figures to head to the Hen 'pen. The 27-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs on nine hits over 8 1/3 innings with three walks and seven strikeouts, but showed power stuff.

"He actually has great stuff," Ausmus said. "He has a lot of movement on his fastball. He throws in the mid-90s with a good split. We were really considering him for a while."

With Farmer and Dolis out, the Tigers are down to 10 relievers in camp for a seven-man bullpen, including six right-handers for what will likely be five spots: Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Bruce Rondon, Joba Chamberlain and Angel Nesbitt.

That leaves four lefty relievers for two spots. Tom Gorzelanny is believed to be in, leaving Ian Krol, Kyle Ryan and Blaine Hardy competing for the other role.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.