DETROIT -- The Tigers are waiting to decide whether they need to make a move to fill Jordan Zimmermann's spot in their rotation, but they made a move in their bullpen Sunday after their 9-4 win, optioning Drew VerHagen to Triple-A Toledo and calling up Buck Farmer to take his place.
It's essentially a swap of young relievers who can pitch multiple innings. VerHagen went an inning-plus in relief of an injured Zimmermann Sunday afternoon, but gave up two runs on three hits in the process, raising his ERA to 7.11. The 25-year-old right-hander has yielded 28 hits over 19 innings, including three home runs, while walking seven and striking out 10.
"I think Drew has a chance to be a really good pitcher," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He can pitch anywhere in the game. I think he could eventually be a back end of the bullpen-type reliever. But right now, he's having trouble throwing strikes. He's a little off in terms of commanding the ball, fastball and the curveball, and we just want him to go down there and straighten himself out.
"We really like him a lot. He throws 95. He's 6-foot-5. I think there's a lot to like about him, but right now we think he could use some time honing his skills."
Said VerHagen: "I feel confident I'll be right where I need to be very soon. I understand it, and I need to be better. I need to be more aggressive early in the count and establish my fastball. I'll go down, work on it and come back better."
Farmer opened the season in the bullpen before heading to Toledo. The 25-year-old righty has allowed two runs on six hits over 8 1/3 innings in Detroit, walking three and striking out 10. He's 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA in five starts for the Mud Hens.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. 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.