Leyland in process of retooling rotation

Leyland in process of retooling rotation

Leyland in process of retooling rotation
DETROIT -- The end of Casey Crosby's tenure as the Tigers' fifth starter came Friday night after his fourth-inning exit. The process of reordering the Tigers rotation began Saturday morning.

It's still far from complete, as the "TBA" listed for Thursday's matinee against the Cardinals showed. Next weekend's Interleague series at Pittsburgh is a bigger question.

As expected, the Tigers will use Monday's off-day to skip Crosby's old rotation spot and move up Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello by a day. Manager Jim Leyland has not committed yet to doing the same with Doug Fister on Thursday, but he's clearly thinking about it depending on how the right-hander comes out of Saturday's start against the Rockies.

"The only thought process there was I don't know how he's going to come out of this," Leyland said before Saturday's game against the Rockies. "I'm trying to watch and protect him a little bit. But I could actually skip somebody and be OK if I wanted to do it that way."

If he does that, Max Scherzer would pitch Friday's series opener against the Pirates.

"Then," Leyland said, "I'd have to make some adjustments."

That part, he didn't get into. Coincidentally, while Crosby was pitching in Detroit on Friday night, top pitching prospect Jacob Turner gave up a lone earned run over at least six innings for the third straight start Friday night for Triple-A Toledo. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out six at Norfolk to outduel Jamie Moyer. After going into Spring Training as arguably the favorite for the open spot in the Tigers' rotation that eventually went to Drew Smyly, Turner is making a case for a midseason promotion.

Monday's off-day is the last one the Tigers have before the All-Star break. They finish out with 20 games in 20 days, so they'll need a fifth starter for four turns. Smyly could fill that slot when he comes back from his DL stint, but that won't be until June 26 at the earliest, so they'll need somebody else for at least one start.