The big question, that got even bigger after last night’s shellacking was “what’s wrong with Nate Robertson?” The question hasn’t been answered yet, but he is being sent to the DL with a tired arm. He’ll miss two turns in the rotation at a minimum and can’t come back until June 22nd. (just about the same time that Kenny Rogers may be ready)
The bigger news is that Andrew Miller will be starting in his stead. Jim Leyland said the team will likely recall a reliever until Sunday, at which point Miller will be added to the rotation. Miller has been lights out since being promoted to Erie where he posts a 0.59 ERA over 30 2/3 innings with 24 K’s and 5 walks.
Robertson swears nothing is wrong, but is heading for additional tests regardless.
My take is that these moves need to happen for a variety of reasons. Robertson hasn’t really been helping the team for the better part of a month, and Miller really can’t do worse and should do better than an injured Robertson. Miller is dominating at AA and had a successful debut. I don’t think they are rushing him.
The upside is that for a least a few weeks this will quell talk of moving him to the pen, or moving him to the rotation to move Maroth/Durbin to the pen. Neither move I was a fan of. Putting him in the pen at this point in the season does nothing to strengthen his arm and build up his stamina for next year when he will need to be a member of the rotation for a full season.
In terms of flip-flopping Maroth/Durbin and Miller it would probably cause a lot of short term grief for something that couldn’t be sustained over the course of a season. Once Miller would hit his inning limit in mid to late August, one of them would have to come back to the rotation. Miller won’t be allowed to throw 190 innings this year, it just won’t and shouldn’t happen. Plus with Maroth’s propensity for the long ball, I don’t know that I’d want him as a reliever anyways.