06/02/10 1:18 AM ET
Galarraga, Carmona trying to regain form
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Galarraga is essentially Willis' replacement in the rotation, as he was expected to be sent to the Minors when right-hander Max Scherzer was recalled on Sunday, but instead Willis was designated for assignment before being traded to the D-backs in exchange for right-hander Billy Buckner on Tuesday.
Galarraga, though, has only made three appearances this season and struggled in his last start on May 22, when the Dodgers roughed him up for five runs over 4 2/3 innings in Los Angeles.
But Tigers manager Jim Leyland is sticking with Galarraga in the rotation and thinks he knows what has plagued the right-hander this season.
"He's got to use both sides of the plate better," Leyland said. "He's got to use his changeup some. He's got to continue to stay on top of his slider. His slider was not good the last time he started. He ought to be able to give you enough outs to be a big league pitcher and get some wins for you."
Galarraga, who is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA this season, also had some troubles last season when he posted a 5.64 ERA in 143 2/3 innings after an impressive 2008 campaign, when he went 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA in 178 2/3 innings.
Leyland chalked up Galarraga's recent struggles to not making adjustments, and he needs to regain his slider that made him so effective two seasons ago.
"He had a real good slider and he was an unknown," Leyland said of Galarraga's '08 season. "Galarraga is what he is. He's basically a sinker, slider and changeup pitcher. That's what he is. There's nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of successful ones."
Carmona is also trying to regain his previous form but with much more success this season. The right-hander had a breakout season in 2007, when he won 19 games with a 3.06 ERA, but he followed it up with a combined 5.89 ERA over '08 and '09.
Carmona, though, has been solid this season, with a 4-3 record and 3.69 ERA over his first 10 starts, and has gone at least six innings in all but one of his outings. He last started against the Yankees on Friday and kept the Indians in the game by allowing four runs over six innings before the bullpen faltered in an 8-2 loss.
"I thought Fausto battled really well," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "You can't complain about the effort he gave us."
Indians: Marson improving offensively and defensively
Catcher Lou Marson has seen improvements behind the plate, both offensively and defensively, after starting out the season with a .088 batting average on April 27. He's thrown out 12 of the 34 runners who have tried to steal off him, the best percentage (35.3) in the American League, and has hit .268 (22-for-82) over his past 26 games. "He was more defensive," Acta said. "He's been more aggressive [lately]."
Tigers: Buckner to start out at Triple-A
Much like Willis, Buckner has struggled this season with an 11.08 ERA in three starts and was immediately optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the trade. But Buckner showed promise over his last five starts of the season last year when he went 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA. His biggest problem has been that he has had a tough time getting through big league lineups a third time, and has a career 6.25 ERA as a result. "It's the defining characteristic of a starter in the big leagues -- he has to be able to do that," former manager A.J. Hinch said on Monday.
Former Major League pitcher Jeriome Robertson, who made eight appearances with the Indians in 2004, died late Saturday night following a motorcycle accident in his hometown of Exeter, Calif. Robertson, who was traded to the Indians for Luke Scott and the rights to Willy Taveras, lost control of his 2007 Yamaha Warrior while making a 70-mph turn, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.