The biggest news that came out the Detroit Tigers third-straight loss to the Cleveland Indians was Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann taking a line drive off of his jaw.
Luckily, it seems like Zimmermann will be just fine and there is even a chance that he will not miss a start.
But Zimmermann’s scare was not the only big news from Wednesday night as the Tigers made the decision following the game to send their starting left fielder, Mikie Mahtook, down to Triple-A Toledo to work on his swing.
Following tonight’s game, the Tigers optioned OF Mikie Mahtook to Triple A Toledo. A corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) April 12, 2018
This move came as a surprise to many and whether or not manager Ron Gardenhire was 100% on board with the decision seems to be debatable.
Maybe Gardenhire is like this every time a player gets sent down, but he seemed truly devastated about having to give the news to Mikie Mahtook. I get the sense that it was not his idea, which might explain why it took 30 minutes for the clubhouse to open. He lost the argument.
— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) April 12, 2018
According to reports, Gardenhire was not happy with having to send Mahtook down to Toledo but he knows the Tigers had to make room for another pitcher.
From Detroit Free Press:
“I really like Mikie,” Gardenhire said. “He’s kind of scuffling right now a little bit. I told him he needs to go down and get his swing together and get his confidence back, and he’ll be right back up here.
“But, with the way our pitching is right now and the worries that we have, we needed to do this and add an extra pitcher and try to get through tomorrow and the next series, then a doubleheader”
With Mahtook out of the picture, at least in the short-term, players like JaCoby Jones and Victor Reyes, along with a sprinkle of Niko Goodrum, will take the reins in left field.
“We’ll just kind of divvy that up and let them play,” Gardenhire said. “One thing we know for sure, Tookman needs to get swinging and this will help him. But, doesn’t make me feel very good because I really like that young man. I like his enthusiasm. I know he’s spinning a little bit offensively. He’s trying to find his swing. It’ll come. He did it here last year and he’ll do it again this year.”
Only time will tell whether or not getting some reps in Toledo will be a magic elixir for Mahtook’s swing but there is no question about it that he has to change something. In 31 at-bats this season, Mahtook is batting only .129. A season ago, he batted .276 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs in 109 games with the Tigers.