Detroit Tigers recall prospect Mike Gerber; designate Drew VerHagen for assignment

The Detroit Tigers have made a roster move on Monday ahead of their series in Pittsburgh, recalling outfield prospect Mike Gerber from Triple-A Toledo and designating pitcher Drew VerHagen for assignment.

The Tigers promoted Gerber from Toledo this past Friday as the 26th man for their doubleheader at home against the Kansas City Royals. He briefly appeared as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of Game 2 that day, a game Detroit went on to lose 3-2. Gerber was promptly sent back down to Triple-A after the twin bill.

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Gerber got off to a red-hot start with the Mud Hens to start the season, going 10 for 18 in his first four games, with four extra-base hits and five runs batted in. He’s cooled off considerably since then, going just 3 for 38 over his last nine games.

“It’s good motivation for getting back,” Gerber said. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget, and hopefully I’ll have many more like it.”

Gerber will join the Tigers as they begin a six-game road trip, starting with three against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Being in a National League ballpark, the Tigers’ No. 11 prospect will likely get his first major league at-bat sometime during this series in a pinch-hitting role, if not starting in a game.

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Being designated for assignment, Drew VerHagen will have to go through and subsequently clear waivers for Detroit to assign him back to the minors; VerHagen was out of options heading into this season. The 27-year-old has allowed a total of seven runs in 10 innings of work this year (6.30 ERA). In his last three appearances alone, he’s been tagged for five ER in just 2.1 IP.

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VerHagen really showed a lot of promise for the Tigers back in 2015 when he returned from a major back injury. In 20 relief appearances that year, he posted an ERA barely over 2.00. Over the last three seasons, however, VerHagen has logged a 6.25 ERA in 54 appearances. He underwent season-ending thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2016 as well.

The former fourth-round pick of the Tigers in 2012 was an easy pick for the club to let go at this point. Reiterating to Detroit’s upcoming series in a senior circuit venue and an off day on Monday, pitching was not a major need at this moment, so the Tigers opt to bring an extra bat in Gerber.

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