With Wilson returning, Tigers option Farmer

With Wilson returning, Tigers option Farmer

HOUSTON -- Buck Farmer's two scoreless innings of work in Detroit's 1-0 loss to the Astros on Friday night weren't enough.

The Tigers optioned Farmer to Triple-A Toledo following the game, making room for reliever Alex Wilson to rejoin the big league club in time for the rest of the series in Houston.

Wilson, coming off a shoulder injury sustained in Spring Training, will likely be a late-inning arm after posting a robust 2.19 ERA last season in 59 appearances. Ultimately, the move has more to do with Wilson's return than any shortcoming for Farmer, who has been working as a reliever after losing out on the fifth rotation spot this spring.

"It caused some more discussion because he pitched well," manager Brad Ausmus said. "And the truth is, he won't be able to pitch tomorrow. He pitched two innings tonight. Maybe you can squeeze an inning out of him tomorrow. That's it."

Farmer at least left a good final impression, and he'll be stretched back into a starter in the Minors. Working in relief of Mike Pelfrey on Friday, Farmer corralled his erratic delivery and set the Astros down, 1-2-3, in consecutive frames.

"He was very under control, as under control as I have seen him," Ausmus said. "When I say that, I mean his body. A lot of times, he is flying off the left side of the mound. He gets out of whack and the ball gets up in the zone. Today he was under control, working down in the zone and working straight down to home plate."

Farmer said the team told him to be ready for spot duty this season, but it will take him a while to stretch back out into a guy who can last six or more innings.

"I'll help if they need a guy down the stretch, so just keep working," Farmer said of the advice from teammates and coaches. "It'll take a little bit of time. The most pitches I've thrown in the past month or so has been 50. Start there and just work up."

Ausmus has no doubt Farmer would be a factor in any potential playoff push this season.

"I don't think it will hurt him developmentally," he said. "I think you will see him again up here sometime this year.

"[Friday] was the best I have seen him yet."

Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.