Tigers won't rush dominant relief prospect Jimenez

Tigers won't rush dominant relief prospect Jimenez

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is well aware of relief prospect Joe Jimenez's dominance on his fast track up the farm system. For now, though, he doesn't want to speed it up to the point where it hurts Jimenez's development.

Jimenez, ranked eighth among Tigers prospects according to MLBPipeline.com, entered Friday with 14 saves and 26 1/3 scoreless innings this season between Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. The 21-year-old has allowed nine hits and six walks while striking out 44. The stinginess from the Tigers' Futures Game representative from last year, as well as a Detroit bullpen in flux, has led to buzz about a callup this summer.

At this point, Ausmus is downplaying it.

"Everybody thinks that the guy doing well at the Minors is the answer," Ausmus said Friday. "There's a huge difference between Double-A and Major League hitters. I think Joe Jimenez has a chance to be a good Major League pitcher. He certainly has a plus fastball. But it takes a really special fastball to pitch with just one pitch at the Major League level, even as a reliever. There are a few guys that can do it.

"He's still developing. He has a chance to be a good Major League pitcher, but to rush him just because he's had a good three months and stunt his development would be a bad decision."

Quick hits

• The Tigers outrighted outfielder Wynton Bernard to Erie on Friday after he cleared waivers. Bernard, signed out of a tryout camp a couple of years ago and placed on the 40-man roster in 2015, was designated for assignment last week to make room for Casey McGehee, who himself was later designated for assignment.

• Former Tigers pitcher Bill Gilbreth returned to Detroit this weekend to celebrate the 45th anniversary of his Major League debut. Gilbreth tossed a complete-game win against Cleveland on June 25, 1971, allowing a run on five hits. This is his first trip back to Detroit in four decades.

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.