DETROIT -- The first round of Tigers callups for expanded September rosters will be a small one. Buck Farmer will rejoin the team to bolster Detroit's pitching depth, while John Hicks will make his Tigers debut to serve as an extra catcher.
Both callups will take place Friday, when the Tigers open a three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City. Other moves will come after Triple-A Toledo finishes out its season Monday.
While Detroit has had varying levels of September reinforcements over the years, two constants have been an extra catcher and bullpen depth. The immediate moves serve those purposes.
Farmer will be up with the big club for the sixth time this season. With all those trips up and down Interstate 75, the 25-year-old right-hander has appeared in 10 games, allowing seven runs on 13 hits over 16 innings, with nine walks and 15 strikeouts. Though Farmer has been strictly a reliever with the Tigers, he has been a starter with the Mud Hens, posting a 5-6 record and a 3.96 ERA in 20 starts.
Hicks' callup will be his second Major League stint, having served as a backup catcher with the Mariners last year from the end of August through season's end. He was in Minnesota's system to open this season until Detroit claimed him off waivers April 23 to fill Bobby Wilson's old role as insurance behind the plate.
The Tigers haven't needed Hicks' services, but the former University of Virginia backstop has quietly enjoyed a solid summer in Toledo, batting .303 (73-for-241) with 20 doubles, eight homers and 42 RBIs in 70 games. He has thrown out 24-of-61 would-be basestealers.
A third catcher on a roster comes in handy as insurance on days like Wednesday, when the Tigers had James McCann behind the plate and Jarrod Saltalamacchia starting at first base. If Miguel Cabrera's ankle flares up again down the stretch, Detroit can play Saltalamacchia at first without having to worry about shifting players around if manager Brad Ausmus wants to pinch-hit for McCann -- or if there's an injury.
Other Mud Hens likely to be called up include shortstop Dixon Machado, who is ranked No. 14 in the Tigers' farm system according to MLBPipeline.com, alongside recently demoted Matt Boyd and Casey McGehee, who can return as soon as Toledo's season ends rather than wait the requisite 10 days. Still to be decided is the case of hard-throwing closer prospect Joe Jimenez and slugging outfielder Steven Moya.
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.