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Doug Fister (left side strain) is returning to the 15-day disabled list. The Detroit Tigers are replacing him with Casey Crosby, who'll make his major league debut Friday at home versus the New York Yankees.
Fister made just one start in April before his sideline trip but was in the midst of an OK May (0-3, 3.52 ERA, 21 K's, seven walks in 30 2/3 frames). He's still a solid mixed backender following his step forward in 2011, but the Tigs' run support, which was supposed to be a boon, hasn't been there to give him favorable decisions.
In his abbreviated start to 2012, he was giving up an unusual number of homers, even while his grounder rate increased; that probably has to do with him needing to get his location back. Jim Leyland noted that Fister's release point was dropping in recent outings.
Since this is another trip to the bench with the same injury as before, he might take a similar amount of time, if not more, to return. His skills say hold him everywhere possible.
Meanwhile, Leyland didn't say how long Crosby would be up. The fourth-ranked Detroit cub, per Baseball America, endured a rough April at Triple-A Toledo (his first season there) but has blossomed in May (3.86 ERA, 41 K's, 16 walks and a .191 opponents' average in 32 2/3 innings). The improvements in Crosby's dominance and control rates from his 2011 Double-A Erie experience (8.27, 5.26, respectively) bode well, even in the small sample size.
His career had been somewhat stalled by 2008 Tommy John surgery and 2010 elbow swelling. The southpaw can reach the mid-90s with his four-seamer and uses his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame to leverage contact into the ground frequently while using his two-seamer. A noteworthy changeup complements both fastballs.
Crosby's brief Triple-A stretch isn't surprising considering Detroit's selective aggressiveness in promoting its pitching prospects. Though his accelerated timetable might cause rough sledding in his first MLB action, he'll be 24 in September, so he's not an infant despite his time lost to health woes.
The start versus the Bombers isn't a comforting fantasy trial, but he could have a useful few weeks, at minimum, with Fister on the shelf and should be owned in mono setups.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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