Lobstein got the starting nod over fellow lefty Kyle Ryan, who was called up earlier this week to pitch out of the bullpen. Ryan could end up starting anyway once the Tigers make a decision on how to watch Matt Boyd's innings workload down the stretch. Boyd could skip a start, or he could be shut down.
"We talked about [Ryan], but decided to go with Lobstein," manager Brad Ausmus said before the series finale against the Royals. "He pitched pretty well for us last year and actually did OK -- even though he was injured -- this year. So [we'll] see what he can do again."
The 26-year-old Lobstein went 3-5 with a 4.34 ERA in eight starts for Detroit in April and May, including seven quality innings against the Indians on April 26 and 7 2/3 innings with an unearned run on May 7 against the White Sox. He took losses in his three starts after that, and later admitted that he had been pitching with a sore shoulder.
An MRI showed no structural damage, but the rehab process was a long one. Lobstein returned to game action four weeks ago on a rehab assignment that included two starts for Class A Advanced Lakeland and four more for Triple-A Toledo. He went 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA between the two stops, culminating in 6 2/3 innings of four-run ball with five strikeouts in a no-decision last Sunday. His fastball reportedly topped out in the upper 80s, according to Ausmus.
Lobstein had been scheduled to finish his rehab assignment with a start for the Mud Hens on Friday night against the Indianapolis Indians. He'll instead get that start vs. the Cleveland Indians.
Lobstein's return gives the Tigers three left-handed starters, all lined up consecutively, joining Randy Wolf and Boyd. Lobstein is the only one scheduled to start the weekend series against Cleveland, followed by right-handers Alfredo Simon and Verlander.
To make room for Lobstein's return to the 40-man roster, Detroit outrighted reliever Josh Zeid to Toledo. The 28-year-old right-hander, acquired last offseason off waivers from Houston, is 3-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 41 games out of the Hens' bullpen, allowing 63 hits over 65 innings with 39 walks and 57 strikeouts.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.