Glover making impression with Tigers

Glover making impression with Tigers

CHICAGO -- Gary Glover joined the Tigers a month ago as an extra arm for a team that desperately needed one. Glover, in turn, was taking a shot at another job after the Rays released him at the end of July.

After a few weeks and 10 outings, it looks like the two might have become a good match.

Manager Jim Leyland has used his new right-handed option everywhere from long relief to setup to the ninth inning. So far, Glover has answered the call with success.

"The guy's got a good arm," Leyland said Friday. "It's amazing. I can't really figure out why he's been with so many teams, to be honest with you."

It was during his last change of teams, Glover said, that he laid down the foundation for the success he's had recently. He went on the disabled list with the Rays in early July and was activated just in time to be designated for assignment around the end of the month. He had to wait to go through waivers before he had the opportunity to decline a Minor League assignment and become a free agent, eventually signing a Minor League deal with the Tigers on Aug. 9.

The only work he could do in between was to throw on his own near his Florida home. However, he managed to make the best of it by trying to pinpoint the source of some of his struggles that helped lead to a 5.82 ERA and 42 hits with 18 walks over 34 innings with the Rays this year.

"You start looking for some answers a little bit," Glover said Saturday. "Obviously, everything wasn't 100 percent right, so I started tinkering and continued to do so during my off time, and put it to work against hitters when I got to Triple-A [Toledo], threw a couple good innings there and got called up and thrown decent since I've been here. [I] had a minor setback where I didn't throw the ball nearly as well, but I'm back on track. I feel real confident with what I'm doing now."

The mechanical shift, he said, put his delivery more in line towards the plate. Once he arrived in Detroit, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Jeff Jones worked with him to refine his motion.

"It was a minor thing," Glover said, "but it's something that helps me when I'm out there and allows me to repeat pitches -- not just throw strikes, but quality strikes. That's the name of pitching right there -- work ahead, stay ahead."

That type of command works in a lot of relief situations. He threw 38 of his 61 pitches for strikes en route to four innings of relief with a lone unearned run allowed Sept. 2 against the Angels, then came back for two scoreless ninth innings during the Tigers' three-game series against Oakland.

Add up his last six outings, including Sunday, and he has thrown 8 1/3 innings without surrendering an earned run and without allowing an inherited runner to score. In the process, he has scattered two hits while walking no one and striking out five.

"I feel real comfortable right now with my mechanics," Glover said. "It's something that I made minor changes, something that maybe got me over the hump, I don't know. Hopefully that's the case and I'll just finish out a strong year and see what happens from there."

He would like to be back with the Tigers for Spring Training, but that's a decision the organization has yet to make. He's eligible for arbitration at season's end. Performance-wise, at least, he has made his impression.

"He's a great guy, never really says anything, takes the ball," Leyland said. "He's got good stuff. I think you have to be a little careful with the situations you put him in, but he certainly hasn't done anything wrong here. He's another case of a good teammate. He just comes in and does his job, works. I continue to watch him."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.