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 Duane Below 64 | P NEWS

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PostSubject: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:07 pm



Duane Below 64 | P

Full Name: Duane Arthur Below
Born: November 15, 1985 in Britton, MI
Height: 6' 3''
Weight: 220
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
College: Lake Michigan


Biography


Resides in Britton, MI during the off-season.

... Attended Lake Michigan College.

... Participated in the Tigers Winter Caravan.

... Recommended/signed by Tom Osowski for the Tigers.


2007 Highlights

Tabbed the Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Single A West Michigan's Pitcher of the Year in 2007 after leading the Midwest League with 160 strikeouts.

... Selected to the Midwest League's mid-season all-star squad.

... Tied for the lead in the Midwest League with 13 wins, while he finished fourth with a 2.97 ERA, tied for fourth with 26 games started and tied for fifth with 58 walks.

... Led all league starters with 9.89 strikeouts per nine innings, while he finished fourth with a .236 batting average against.

... Fanned a season-high 14 batters on May 11 versus Cedar Rapids.

... Tabbed the Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May after compiling a 4-1 record and 2.75 ERA (36.0IP/11ER) in six starts -- tied for second in the Midwest League with four wins during the month.

... Struck out 10 batters on July 1 at South Bend.

... Won each of his final five decisions of the season July 29-August 29.

... Tied for second in the Midwest League with 42 strikeouts in six starts during July, while he finished 13th with a 2.41 ERA (33.2IP/9ER).

... Earned Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors for August after he finished 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA (32.1IP/2ER) in five starts -- second in the Midwest League with a 0.56 ERA during the month, while he tied for fourth with four wins and 36 strikeouts.

... Won both of his starts during the Midwest League playoffs, posting a 2.63 ERA (13.2IP/4ER) and 17 strikeouts.

... Named the 26th-best prospect in the Tigers organization following the season by Baseball America.


2008 Highlights

Led the Florida State League with 126 strikeouts during the 2008 season with Lakeland.

... Tied for the lead in the Florida State League with 26 games started, while he finished third with 70 walks.

... Topped all league starters with 8.70 strikeouts per nine innings.

... Fanned a season-high 10 batters on May 12 at Tampa -- equaled the high with 10 strikeouts on July 22 at Vero Beach.

... Finished 2-1 with a 2.23 ERA (36.1IP/9ER) and 39 strikeouts in six starts during May -- led the Florida State League with 39 strikeouts during the month, while he finished second with a 2.23 ERA.

... Tied for fourth in the Florida State League with three wins during August.

2009 Highlights

Assigned to Single A Lakeland to begin the 2009 season.

... Finished 13th in the Florida State League with a 1.86 ERA (19.1IP/4ER) in four starts during April.

... Had his contract transferred from Lakeland to Erie on May 15.

... Landed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season on May 25 with a left elbow sprain.


2010 Highlights

Spent the entire 2010 season with Double A Erie, finishing second on the SeaWolves staff with 103 strikeouts.

... Tied for the lead in the Eastern League with 28 games started, while he tied for fourth with 12 losses and tied for fifth with 17 home runs allowed.

... Fanned a season-high 10 batters on April 27 at Bowie.

... Compiled a 2.80 ERA (45.0IP/14ER) over a 10-start stretch April 27-June 15.

... Won each of his final three decisions of the season August 19-September 3.

... Tied for seventh in the Eastern League with three wins during August.

... Named the 15th-best prospect in the Tigers organization following the season by Baseball America.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:11 pm



Duane Below will make his Major League debut against Oakland on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. (AP)

Tigers tab Below to make Wednesday start
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 07/19/11 12:43 PM ET

DETROIT -- Duane Below grew up within an hour's drive of Tigers home games at Comerica Park. He'll now get a chance to pitch there.

After plenty of speculation over who would get the Tigers' fifth starter spot out of the All-Star break, the team is turning to the 25-year-old left-hander. With the better part of four solid months at Triple-A Toledo on the resume, Below will don the Old English D to make his Major League debut against Oakland on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.


The team announced the decision Tuesday morning, ending more than a week of speculation that included top prospect Jacob Turner, who was moved up two days in Double-A Erie's rotation to coincide with Detroit's open spot, and Charlie Furbush, who made two starts for the Tigers leading into the All-Star break and was supposedly scratched from his scheduled start for the Mud Hens on Tuesday. Both were believed to be in consideration for the spot at some point. It appears the Tigers will instead be watching Turner's innings as he nears the end of his second pro season.

Who gets the rotation spot for the long term will still be the hot topic for speculation. Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski has said they're looking to trade for a starting pitcher before the July 31 deadline, and every indication suggests they're searching hard for one. They'll likely keep searching no matter how well Below pitches Wednesday, but a strong outing would definitely help his future prospects in Detroit.

Of all the pitching prospects at Triple-A Toledo, Below has been the quietest, but he has been quietly consistent. He's 9-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 18 starts as a Mud Hen this year, allowing 99 hits over 115 innings. He's unbeaten in his last four outings, allowing six runs on 20 hits over 26 innings in that stretch with 10 walks and 18 strikeouts.

Below grew up in Britton, Michigan, a town with a population around 700 located between Toledo and Ann Arbor. He went to school at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Mich., located on the western side of the state.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:41 am

Below adjusting to his new relief role
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 08/05/11 8:24 PM ET

KANSAS CITY -- When Duane Below made his Major League debut last month, seemingly the entire town of Britton, Mich., showed up at Comerica Park. Unless residents can make the hour-long drive when he starts warming up in the bullpen during home games, they don't have that luxury of knowing when he'll pitch these days.

It's an adjustment for everyone, but none more so than Below, now a reliever for the first time since his first pro season in 2006.

"It was different," Below said of his Tigers relief debut on Thursday. "I think I was a little more nervous than I was for the debut, just because it had been so long since I'd thrown off the mound. I just wanted to make sure I threw strikes like I did before."

Below hadn't pitched in a game since his last start a week and a half earlier in Chicago. He showed little if any rust, tossing a perfect inning on nine pitches, seven of them strikes. He stopped overwarming in the bullpen, as he had earlier, and felt fresh.

"I guess the biggest thing is just getting the first outing out of the way," Below said. "There were a couple other times I thought I was going in."

As for the hometown support, he's still getting it. They're just watching on television nowadays, waiting to see if he's warming up.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:22 am

Below quite above average as Tigers reliever
Since moving to bullpen, southpaw owns 7 1/3 perfect innings
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 08/10/11 9:18 PM ET

CLEVELAND -- If Duane Below had put up this kind of streak as a starting pitcher, he'd be five outs shy of a perfect game. As it is, he has delivered 7 1/3 innings of shutdown relief -- in situations that feel like he's starting as it is.

Below's four perfect innings in Wednesday's 3-2 marathon loss came after a 2-hour, 3-minute rain delay that knocked out Tigers starter Doug Fister. Once the delay rolled past an hour, pitching coach Jeff Jones pulled Below aside and told him to be ready. It was the same way Sunday in Kansas City, where rain and hail knocked out Max Scherzer after five innings. Below entered that one and retired all seven batters he faced, striking out four of them.

He used his starting routine both times, only without the scouting reports.

"I try to just take it the same way as being a starter," Below said. "When I get to the bullpen, I've got time to warm up and do my regular routine like I've always done. I try to just come in, be aggressive, throw strikes and do the best I can."

Add in three batters and three outs last Thursday against Texas, and Below has retired all 22 batters in his brief career as a Major League reliever.

"That's my first time throwing within a couple of days like that, but I felt good," Below said. "As long as they're asking me to go out, I'll continue to take the ball and try to do what I can for as long as I can.

"Just try to continue to go out and throw strikes, and if it happens, it happens. I'm just trying to get outs, put the ball in play and let the defense take care of it. Like last night, you saw all the amazing plays that we made."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:00 am



What's next for these Tigers?

Duane Below,
left-handed starter

2011:
Helped out as a starter and in the bullpen after being called up at mid-season.

Contract:
He was a rookie who got the big-league minimum.

2012:
On a rotation that doesn’t yet have a left-hander, Below has a shot. The Tigers like his stuff and his progress.

John T. Greilick/The Detroit News


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:35 pm

Southpaw no longer Below the radar
Eager to compete for, win fifth spot in Tigers' rotation
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 02/03/12 11:00 AM EST

DETROIT -- Duane Below's first Major League start was a dream come true for the Michigan native with his home team. This Spring Training is about making sure it lasts.

He sounds like he's ready to battle for it, even if manager Jim Leyland isn't calling the fifth spot in the rotation a competition so much as an opportunity. With Below, though, the battle sounds a bit like it's with himself.

"We're all competitors," Below said earlier this month on the Tigers' winter caravan. "We all want it. That's what you want. I'm working hard to try to get it. [Others are] working hard to try to get it. We're hoping for the best, because that's not in our control. We can't make that call."

The fact that Below is in position for the Tigers to potentially call on him this spring -- his second Spring Training with the Major League club -- is one reason why he was among the more underrated stories of the 2011 season.

He began the season as an under-the-radar prospect, obscured by more highly-regarded arms ranging from top prospect Jacob Turner to hard-throwing lefty Andy Oliver and rapidly-rising southpaw Charlie Furbush. Yet none of them spent more days with the Tigers last season than Below, whose standout summer at Triple-A Toledo just about forced his way into an opportunity with the big club. Furbush spent more days in the big leagues, but the final two months came with the Mariners after the Doug Fister trade.

Below made his Major League debut about a week and a half before that trade, tossing five innings against the A's at Comerica Park before taking the loss at the White Sox five days later. Turner's Major League debut and the Fister trade knocked him out of the rotation, but he spent the rest of the regular season in the bullpen as a lefty reliever.

Add up Below's 29 innings in Detroit with his 115 innings for the Mud Hens, and Below fell just shy of his career high in workload for a season despite being just two years removed from Tommy John surgery. For that reason, as well as the three weeks he spent in October keeping his arm fresh in Florida as postseason insurance, Below didn't continue pitching into winter ball.

Now, after a couple months off, he's ready to get going again. In fact, he was ready a while ago. Instead of using the winter caravan as a springboard to Spring Training, he had left his hometown of Britton, Mich., and started throwing in Lakeland, Fla., well before that.

"I think I've been working pretty hard," he said. "I think I've come in every day to bust my butt and try to make the best out of everything, so there's no excuse at the end of Spring Training. If I make the team, I make the team. If I don't, I wasn't lazy. I did everything that I could to put myself in the best position I could. ...

"Right now, this is the time to build up to Spring Training. I'm throwing to get stronger. I want to be ready by Day 1 of Spring Training. I don't want to be ready by Jan. 1."

He doesn't boast the power arm of Oliver or the nasty sinker or ground-ball ratio of Turner, or the arm angle of Adam Wilk. His strength is in his results, including 127 hits allowed over 144 combined innings, and his track record against left-handed hitters in the Minor Leagues.

At 26, he's the oldest of the starting contestants as they stand now, and he has the most pro pitching experience. He's also an intriguing option for the Tigers if they want a lefty to balance out their rotation, which currently has four righties.

The Tigers could still add a veteran arm or two to compete, but with Roy Oswalt reportedly not interested, the Tigers aren't likely to add anyone established to take the spot from Day 1. That means the opportunity is likely to remain.

Leyland doesn't want to play up the competition so much as emphasize that his young arms get ready for the season, whatever level they happen to open it.

Below is preparing for that possibility, too. But he's ready to make his case for the spot.

"I'm hoping for the best, because they want the best team on the field," he said. "If that's Jacob, Adam, whoever it may be, I'll hope for the best and continue to work and try to be a part of something down the road."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:32 am

Leyland sees positives in Below's audition
With help of his defense, left-hander shows fortitude vs. Yanks
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 03/25/12 7:10 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- If Duane Below can make outs here, he can make them anywhere, right?

Up against a vaunted Yankees lineup featuring most regulars, close enough to an Opening Day lineup to strike some fear, Below had to feel that way. A strong outing wouldn't win him the Tigers' open rotation spot, but it sure wouldn't hurt his case.

Those outs weren't always easy during Sunday's 1-1 tie in 10 innings. They were hard-hit a few times, taking left fielder Quintin Berry and center fielder Austin Jackson to the fence. There were rollers, a few that required stellar plays from Danny Worth at third base and Below himself, coming off the mound. But they were outs.

And on a day when Jim Leyland said he wouldn't judge his starters by results so much as by sight, the manager said he liked what he saw from Below.

"He did good," Leyland said. "He made a couple horrible pitches, and then he started getting down and playing, and he did very well. He left a couple balls up and paid the price for it -- [there were] a couple of good defensive plays -- but after that, he settled down pretty well."

The horrible pitches came early, and they left Below pitching himself to the precipice of a potential rout for a couple innings. Derek Jeter took one of Below's early cutters to the opposite field for his first homer of the spring, making Below pay for letting him out of an 0-2 count. Robinson Cano nearly went deep before Berry went running into the fence. Mark Teixeira sent a breaking ball to left-center for a double leading off the second before a Russell Martin walk and an Andruw Jones flyout to deep center put runners at second and third with one out in a 1-0 game.

That's when Below seemed to settle down. He wasn't nervous about the starting gig potentially at stake, he said, but he was struggling to maintain his focus on every pitch.

"I felt like I was able to not necessarily relax, but calm myself down a little better," Below said. "I don't know if I was getting tired or my nerves were calming down, but I felt like I was able to stay back [in the delivery] a little bit better and not rush as much. I felt like I was finally able to come through on my changeup and tried to attack the strike zone."

Below also mixed his pitches better, which is what Leyland wanted to see him do.

Below got out of that second-inning jam with a cutter that looked like a curveball and fooled Eduardo Nunez with a called third strike. That erased the opportunity for a sacrifice fly, and Below then got Brett Gardner to ground out to end the frame. The left-hander overcame Jeter's leadoff double in the third by getting three straight infield outs from the heart of the Yankees order -- Curtis Granderson, Cano and Alex Rodriguez.

A diving stop and throw from Worth and a tremendous scoop on the other corner from Ryan Strieby took away a potential double from Teixeira in the fourth. After Below made his acrobatic turn and throw to retire Martin, he was done, having thrown 65 pitches on the nose.

The numbers were fairly good; Below had worked 3 2/3 innings on three hits, a walk and two strikeouts. But again, Leyland isn't focusing on the numbers.

"It really gets tricky," Leyland said before the game, "because you don't want to be a Spring Training [results] guy totally. It's tricky. The importance [of] Spring Training performance is more important to a young guy, obviously, than it is to a veteran.

"You're still not judging the results, necessarily. You're judging what you see."

Below isn't a veteran, but he has some Major League results to fall back on, limited as they are. He made two starts last July before Doug Fister arrived, then spent the rest of the regular season in the bullpen.

That was a different scenario. The Michigan native had to wait his turn for a shot last summer, getting a chance only after fellow Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens Andy Oliver and Charlie Furbush struggled, but Below wasn't competing against them. Here, there's a competition, whether the Tigers call it that or not.

At some point, Below's pitching, and to some extent his results -- he's now allowed six runs on 16 hits over 12 1/3 innings -- will be judged against those of Oliver and Drew Smyly. Leyland believes he'll get a starter out of that group, enough so that he's less worried about that spot than he is about the seventh reliever opening.

That doesn't make Below's job any easier. But he's trying to stay focused and make outs.

He made them here.

"I still feel like I'm trying to do the same thing I did last year, do what I can control and go out and throw strikes and get outs, keep the ball down in the zone and give ourselves a chance to stay in the game and win," Below said. "At the start of camp, we had five guys going for the spot. That still is an opportunity.

"I'm here. I want to be a part of the team. I want to help the team win. If I'm a starter, if I'm in the bullpen, wherever they feel is necessary for me, I want to continue the work I need in the areas they want me to work on."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:09 pm

Marte headed to DL with strained hamstring
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 04/03/12 5:03 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Ask a Major League manager for his biggest nightmare as Spring Training wraps up, and an injury in the final days is usually near the top of the list. Tigers manager Jim Leyland experienced it when he saw Luis Marte grab at the back of his left leg on the mound against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Marte left the Grapefruit League finale with a strained left hamstring and will have to open the season on the 15-day disabled list. The Tigers announced after the game that they will recall left-hander Duane Below from Triple-A Toledo to fill the spot that Marte won from Below just two days ago.

Marte had just entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he promptly had to leave. He immediately grabbed at the back of his left leg and limped around the mound as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and Leyland emerged from the dugout.

Rand helped him off the field and into the clubhouse.

Marte beat out right-hander Brayan Villarreal and Below for the relief spot. Villarreal, in particular, had a very good spring, but Leyland said that Marte's ability to throw strikes and his versatility to pitch in many different situations played a big part in the decision.

Below spent all spring competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, finishing as the runner-up to rookie Drew Smyly for the job. He had also been in consideration for the relief spot, Leyland said Sunday. An uncharacteristically wild four-walk inning spoiled Below's last outing last Friday against the Orioles.

Villarreal and Below were both optioned to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday. By rule, the Tigers can recall either of them immediately to fill an injury void.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:34 pm

Below back after short stay in Toledo
By John Wagner / Special to MLB.com | 04/04/12 7:20 AM ET

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Left-hander Duane Below tried to put a smile on his face Tuesday when he came to the Toledo Mud Hens' clubhouse at Fifth Third Field.

Less than 24 hours later, the smile was real.

That's because Below joined the Tigers when Detroit called him up to replace injured right-hander Luis Marte. As a result, Below moved from the home clubhouse to the visiting clubhouse at Fifth Third Field when the Tigers came to Toledo for an exhibition game.

More importantly, the lefty will spend opening day Thursday at Comerica Park rather than Friday with the Mud Hens.

And that's a move Below said he won't complain about.

"I unpacked my bags [Tuesday] and started to get comfortable in Toledo," he said. "Then I got called up, so I had to pack my bags up and come over to this clubhouse.

"I'm excited to be back over here. Now I'm going to continue to work to make sure I get to where I want to be."

Below said he hasn't been able to find out what plans Detroit manager Jim Leyland has for him at the start of the season.

"I said good morning to him when I got in, but we haven't had a chance to talk," Below said. "I'm sure over the next couple of days we'll have a chance to talk and figure out what's going on."

During Spring Training, Below was a candidate for the fifth starter's job for the big club, but was edged out by fellow left-hander Drew Smyly.

John Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:43 am

Below again goes above and beyond
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 04/21/12 6:13 PM ET

DETROIT -- Considering the Tigers had an eight-run deficit by the time Duane Below entered Game 1 of a split doubleheader against the Rangers in the second inning, he probably wasn't going to add to his team-leading win total, no matter how many innings he pitched. But his long relief work Saturday might have been his best yet.

Statistically, it was actually the best relief work the Tigers have had in 17 years.

Not since Greg Keagle in 1996 had a Tigers pitcher tossed at least six scoreless innings in relief in a game. Not since knuckleballer Steve Sparks finished out a 17-inning game in 2003, in fact, had a Tigers reliever tossed six innings of any quality. Rick Porcello's quick exit with nobody out in the second inning of Saturday's 10-4 loss gave Below a chance.

Below, a starting candidate until the end of Spring Training, ran with it, allowing no runs on four hits over six innings with four strikeouts. The Tigers may have lost, but they saved most of their bullpen for what was left of the weekend.

"I was just trying to go out and get outs and try to do the job they called down for me to come in," Below said. "That was my main focus, keeping the game where it was and not really focusing on who was up. Just try to get the ball in play and let the defense do the work."

Below did that as a left-handed pitcher against a lineup comprised mainly of right-handed hitters. Half of the four hits he allowed came to lefties Josh Hamilton and David Murphy.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:25 am

Below to stay in rotation until Fister returns
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 04/27/12 7:40 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Duane Below thought he had blown his chance at cracking the Tigers' rotation with a wild outing at the end of Spring Training. As long as Doug Fister remains out, Below is getting another shot.

After taking a day to mull it over, manager Jim Leyland announced Friday that Below will start in Fister's place Monday against the Royals. Unless something unforeseen happen, Below will likely remain in the rotation until Fister comes back.

"We weighed all our options," Leyland said, "and after discussing that yesterday for a long time, we decided that until Fister comes back, that's probably the best way to go."

It's the way they nearly went to start the season until Drew Smyly won the fifth-starter's job out of camp. Below was optioned to Triple-A Toledo briefly until Luis Marte landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring on his last day of camp.

Below picked up wins in each of his first two long relief outings in a season-opening sweep of the Red Sox. He still shares the team lead in wins with Justin Verlander, while Below has yet to surrender a run over 12 innings of seven-hit ball with no walks and nine strikeouts.

It's the type of pitching Below was seeking when he was fighting for a rotation spot. Now that he's starting again, he hopes to take some of the lessons he has learned in long relief.

"I'm trying to stay ready, making sure my mind's in the game at all times and keeping my presence on the game itself rather than wandering off, because you never know in the bullpen when I was going to go in, or when I'd be needed," Below said. "That's the biggest thing, staying focused."

At this point, Below seems likely to get at least two starts. Though Fister said Friday he felt great after throwing 50 pitches off the mound the day before, he and Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said there are no plans on the next step.

Given how much time Fister has missed -- he was injured three weeks ago Saturday -- he seems likely to need a Minor League rehab assignment.

"I would think so at this point," Leyland said. "I would assume that he's going to have to make one start for sure."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Tue May 01, 2012 11:21 pm

Below back in the bullpen a benefit to Tigers
By Jason Beck and Anthony Odoardi / MLB.com | 05/01/12 8:35 PM ET

DETROIT -- Sometimes a rainout is the best thing that can happen for a struggling team, but manager Jim Leyland doesn't believe in momentum. He does believe, though, in Duane Below being a big part of his bullpen. Thanks to Monday's rainout, he has Below back.

It takes a little maneuvering, and it assumes a healthy Doug Fister coming out of his rehab start Wednesday night at Triple-A Toledo, but not playing Monday actually was a big step in getting the Tigers' rotation back to normal. With Thursday's off-day, the Tigers now won't need a fifth starter until next Monday or Tuesday in Seattle. They can skip Below because Rick Porcello can move up in the order and pitch on his normal four days' rest.

If Fister is fine Wednesday, his next turn would be Monday, and the Tigers are counting on that outing taking place in Seattle.

Add in that the Royals had four left-handed hitters in their starting lineup Tuesday, including the dangerous Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, and Below's return to relief is a good thing for Leyland, whose only other lefty reliever is Phil Coke.

"That helps," Leyland said. "We'll get our bullpen back in sync a little bit very shortly."

Leyland will attend Fister's rehab start. Asked what he needs to see from Fister, Leyland indicated he expects some rust, but he isn't overly concerned about it.

"I just want to see what the delivery looks like, the movement looks like, the command looks like," Leyland said. "What I'm hoping happens is that he gets through the game and that he feels fine."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:08 am

Scherzer to miss start with hamstring injury

By Anthony Odoardi / MLB.com | 07/03/12 12:32 AM ET

DETROIT -- Following Monday's 6-4 loss to the Twins, the Tigers announced that right-hander Max Scherzer will not make his start Tuesday due to a hamstring injury suffered in Tampa Bay. As a result, Duane Below will make his 2012 debut as a starting pitcher.

"Max Scherzer is not going to start for us tomorrow," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told the media who were gathered in manager Jim Leyland's office. "He has a little bit of a hamstring [issue]. He will be able to pitch ... Sunday for us. So he's only going to miss one start. We have confidence in that regard."

Leyland said the injury didn't pop up on the mound, but rather while Scherzer was running at Tropicana Field prior to the game. The 27-year-old approached the skipper about it, and after a bullpen session went poorly Monday, the team chose the cautious route.

"He was jogging on the turf in Tampa and just felt it," Leyland said. "It's one of those where we can't afford to take a chance with it. We've spoken to him today, he had thrown today, but when he tried to really let go a little bit, he could feel it. So we just automatically scratched him. Not taking any chances."

The Tigers continue to try to battle back to at least a .500 record -- they're two games under -- before the All-Star break. And now they'll have to do it with another rookie on the mound in Below. However, the lefty might be the team's most consistent young arm.

He is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 21 games out of the bullpen this season. The southpaw made two starts for Detroit in 2011, going 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA. He was scheduled to start one other time this year on April 30 against the Royals, but the game got rained out.

"I haven't really put too much thought about it," said Below, who was told just a few minutes before the media. "I'm going to just try to come in and act like a normal day and do everything I can to make it as normal as possible.

"I'm going to continue to act like I'm coming out of the 'pen and just try to do my job and what I've been working on all year. Go in and get outs, get our offense in and that's the biggest thing. Try not to change too much. Go out and try to work quick, keep the ball down and throw strikes."

The Tigers also made two roster moves to keep their bullpen fresh. Relief pitcher Luis Marte and second baseman Danny Worth were both optioned to Triple-A Toledo and relievers Jose Ortega and Darin Downs were called up.

Ortega was 3-5 with a 4.23 ERA in 30 appearances for the Mud Hens and Downs went 0-2 with a 2.22 ERA.

Worth was hitting .182 and hadn't seen an at-bat since June 15 against Colorado. Marte entered Monday's game, allowed a hit and walked four batters, although Leyland said the demotion had nothing to do with that.

"No. Why would it? We need bodies," Leyland said. "He did a good job. He didn't do anything wrong, [and] neither did Danny Worth. But we're in a situation where we thought this was a possibility."

Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:32 pm

Righty Putkonen to replace lefty Below in 'pen

By Jordan Garretson / MLB.com | 08/14/12 12:44 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS -- Detroit optioned left-hander Duane Below to Triple-A Toledo following Monday's 9-3 loss to the Twins. The Tigers will recall right-hander Luke Putkonen from Toledo before Tuesday's game against Minnesota.

Below posted a 3.88 ERA in 46 1/3 innings over 27 games. The 26-year-old struggled when called on in Monday's loss, giving up three runs on three hits in one inning.

"He really hasn't gotten that much opportunity to be sharp, to be honest with you, with the role he's in," manager Jim Leyland said. "So we're going to send him down, get him working, and hopefully sharpen him up a little bit.

"It's a little unfair to ask a guy to do sometimes what we ask him to do. But at the same time, when you're in the Major Leagues, you have to be able to do that. You have to be able to come in -- it's 5-1 -- you have to be able to hold it a little bit. He struggled with that a little bit. So we're just making a move."

Putkonen scuffled in his first stint with Detroit earlier this season, recording an 8.59 ERA in six games. But he's 2-2 with a 4.68 ERA for Toledo and hasn't given up a run in his last 11 innings.

"He's been throwing pretty well," Leyland said. "He's a multiple-inning guy. We just felt like it was necessary."


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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:40 am



Last year's run to the World Series was bittersweet for Duane Below, who was optioned to Triple-A late in the season. (AP)

Below looking for happier ending to 2013

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 02/16/2013 6:45 PM ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- For four months, Duane Below was enjoying a storybook season in the big leagues. The ending was a bit of a letdown.

As he sat at home in October, watching the Tigers advance to the World Series, Below admits he had a tough time watching the games. There was at least a twinge of regret there, wishing he could have been a part of it.

Below was part of the pitching staff from Opening Day until Aug. 13, when the Tigers optioned him to Triple-A Toledo. When Detroit made its September callups, Below wasn't one of them.

Thus, while the Tigers went on their late-season run for a second straight American League Central title, Below went home to Britton, Mich., where Tigers fever is prominent. For more than a month, Below had to strike a balance of conflicting emotions.

As a player, it was difficult to sit and watch games from his living room, having been with the team for so long. For that same reason, though, it was easier to root for teammates who had become friends.

Anyone who knows Below, how positive of a thinker he is, knows how those conflicting emotions turned out.

"It was definitely tough, especially watching it and wanting to be there to be part of the team," Below admitted. "Still, you've been with these guys day in and day out and you want them to do well and succeed. I didn't necessarily distance myself from it. I wanted to support and watch and cheer for them. It was hard for me because I wasn't there, but they want to put the best team out there on the field, and I wasn't part of it. I've been working hard this offseason to try to give myself a chance to be a part of it in the coming years."

That positive outlook has roots in his family. His older brother, Scott, helped him through tough times on the way up the farm system, including his recovery from Tommy John surgery, as he worried about how to make an impression. Scott told Duane to control what he can control and not worry about the decisions.

"He just talked me through different things, because he represented me until the end of 2010," Below said. "He's had success in business in different things, through some of his life experiences. So we talked."

As he reflected on 2012, he didn't want the ending to ruin the months that came before it. So instead of letting it drag him down, he's trying to use it as motivation.

"There were so many positives throughout the year," Below said. "I was able to be there for such a long amount of time that I couldn't take the negative side. I wanted to be there for the postseason, but it didn't happen. I didn't want it to wreck the year. Last year was a positive year for me. Just continue to try to build."

That led him back to Lakeland in November, when he started his offseason workouts toward getting himself as close to midseason form as he could for Spring Training. The results helped him catch the organization's attention two years ago, then kept him in a battle for the final rotation spot until the end of camp last spring. He lost out to Drew Smyly, but still found his way onto the Opening Day roster when the Tigers needed someone to replace injured reliever Luis Marte on the final day of camp.

If he's going to make the team this year, it'll have to be in the bullpen, where the long-relief role is wide open. Though Below would seem to be in the same spot as Casey Crosby, potentially competing for long relief or insurance starter in Toledo, the Tigers haven't yet decided whether they'll stretch out Below as a starter this spring.

"I think that's one that's still being tossed around," manager Jim Leyland said.

So could Below's role.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:28 am

Reliever Below scooped up by Miami

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 4/25/2013 7:34 P.M. ET

DETROIT -- So much for the Tigers holding onto lefty swingman Duane Below. The Miami Marlins claimed the 27-year-old on waivers Thursday and optioned him to Triple-A New Orleans.

The Tigers designated Below's contract for assignment on Wednesday to make room for closer Jose Valverde on the 40-man roster. Though there was no role anytime soon for Below in Detroit, he had a place as an insurance starter if/when the Tigers' rotation suffers an injury.

Below went 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA at Triple-A Toledo this season after the Tigers sent him out from big league camp in mid-March. His record belies his secondary stats, including 15 hits allowed over 25 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out 15.

Below joins a New Orleans rotation that includes another former Tiger, Jacob Turner.

His loss means the Tigers will have to find another starter for their rotation at Triple-A Toledo. Evan Reed, whom the Tigers claimed from the Marlins three weeks ago, has started in the Minors in the past but has had success pitching in the Toledo bullpen. So has Luke Putkonen, who has been stretched out in long relief. Australian Warwick Saupold has had a strong opening month at Double-A Erie, but the 23-year-old struggled in his last start and has very limited experience above A-ball.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Duane Below 64 | P NEWS   Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:54 pm

Marte released as Tigers make first spring cuts

By Adam Berry / MLB.com | 3/12/2014 5:56 P.M. ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers made their first round of Spring Training roster cuts Wednesday morning, sending out eight players and unconditionally releasing right-hander Luis Marte.

Marte hasn't pitched for the Tigers since 2012, when he posted a 2.82 ERA in 22 1/3 innings over 13 appearances. The 27-year-old righty pitched in three games for Triple-A Toledo last year before undergoing season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. Marte was designated for assignment when the Tigers signed outfielder Rajai Davis this offseason.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said the decision to release Marte, rather than reassign him, was simply a product of the numbers game.

"He wasn't going to make the big league club, and it was a situation where there really wasn't a spot in Triple-A for him," Ausmus said. "You never want to tell someone that you're releasing them, but the truth is it's better now than later, [because] you have an opportunity to catch on with somebody else.

"He's a great kid, a classy kid. Worked hard. It just wasn't going to work here. Hopefully he can catch on in another organization."

Left-hander Casey Crosby and right-hander Melvin Mercedes were optioned to Triple-A Toledo, while right-hander Jose Valdez and catcher Ramon Cabrera were optioned to Double-A Erie. Right-hander Drew VerHagen, lefties Duane Below and Robbie Ray and catcher James McCann were reassigned to Detroit's Minor League camp.

Ausmus said he and pitching coach Jeff Jones were impressed by VerHagen's mound presence and ability, but the 23-year-old could use more experience. The same could be said for Ray, acquired in the deal that sent Doug Fister to Washington, but Ausmus added that the 22-year-old lefty also needs to refine his secondary offerings before he's Major League-ready.

"I was actually impressed with Robbie," Ausmus said. "He's one of the few guys who has -- we've talked about kind of a swing-and-miss fastball. It plays up a couple miles per hour on the radar gun. But I think it's important for him to not only go down and gain experience, but work on his secondary pitches -- specifically the breaking ball, and see if we can tighten that up. But I certainly liked how he pitched.

"He's definitely close. A lot of it's going to depend on the secondary pitches. If he commands his secondary pitches, he's going to be a Major League pitcher, because his fastball plays in the Major Leagues right now."

After their first wave of spring roster moves, the Tigers have 46 players remaining in Major League camp.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
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