The Tigers announced Friday that right-hander Jose Cisnero has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and that fellow righty Drew Carlton has been designated for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster.
Carlton, 26, was Detroit’s 32nd-round pick back in 2017 and made his big league debut with them last season. He’s tossed a total of 12 1/3 innings in the Majors from 2021-22, logging a strong 2.92 ERA but a less impressive 8-to-4 K/BB ratio. Far more concerning, however, are Carlton’s struggles in Triple-A Toledo this season. The Florida State product has been hammered for a 6.91 ERA with the MudHens, yielding 33 hits — five of them home runs — and six walks in 27 1/3 innings.
Prior to this season, Carlton had a strong showing in his first run through Triple-A, working to a 2.92 ERA with a 23.6% strikeout rate and a 4.8% walk rate in 52 1/3 frames. He’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher whose fastball has averaged 90.6 mph in his limited big league time. Carlton can be optioned this year and for two more beyond the current campaign. The Tigers will have a week to trade him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers.
Cisnero, meanwhile, will rejoin the Tigers’ bullpen and look to build on a strong 2019-21, when he logged a 3.69 ERA with a 24.7% strikeout rate and 10.9% walk rate in 126 2/3 frames. Cisnero has averaged 96.6 mph on his fastball over that stretch and gone from an indie-ball reclamation project who’d been out of affiliated ball for five years to a valuable member of Detroit’s late-inning relief corps. He’s already 33 years old and will be a free agent after the 2023 season, so if he impresses in his first few outings after activation, it’s at least plausible that he could join several of his bullpen-mates as names of interest on the summer trade market. If not, he’ll give the Tigers a veteran arm to plug into the bullpen for the season’s second half and for the 2023 campaign.
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