Tigers send erratic rookie LHP Miller to Class A

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tigers pitcher Andrew Miller was
optioned to Class-A Lakeland on Thursday but could be back with
Detroit in September.

The Tigers, who began the day 4½ games behind first-place
Cleveland in the AL Central, recalled right-hander Virgil Vasquez
from Triple-A Toledo to start Friday night at Oakland. Vasquez was
12-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 25 starts for the Mud Hens, tied for the
International League lead in wins and second with 127 strikeouts.

In addition, Detroit acquired left-hander Clay Rapada from the
Cubs as the player to be named in the trade that sent outfielder
Craig Monroe to Chicago. Rapada will be assigned to Triple-A

Miller, a rookie left-hander, failed to get out of the first
inning against Kansas City on Wednesday night. The Tigers had hoped
to catch "lightning in a bottle" by putting the 6-foot-6 Miller
in the rotation, manager Jim Leyland said. And the No. 6 pick in
the 2006 draft did have his moments. In 13 starts, he was 5-5 with
a 5.63 ERA.

But in his awful outing Wednesday night, he gave up five runs
and five hits, walked two batters, hit two others with pitches and
admitted he could throw nothing for strikes but his fastball.

"His attitude is not an issue," Leyland said. "He just needs
to work out some things. It's obviously showing that he's not
ready. But I take full responsibility."

After working on things, including trimming his repertoire of
pitches, Miller could rejoin the Tigers during their September
playoff push.

"But I doubt that it will be as a starter," Leyland said. "I
think he'll pitch in spots, continue to get his feet wet, if the
spots dictate that."

The pressure of a pennant race was weighing heavily on the
touted 22-year-old, Leyland said.

"He isn't quite ready for this and I take full responsibility
for bringing him here too soon. I think Andrew Miller is going to
be a great pitcher. We caught lightning in a bottle in Joel Zumaya
and Justin Verlander. We thought we had a shot to do that with
Andrew, and that hasn't quite worked out. But Andrew Miller will be
in the Tiger rotation for a long, long time," Leyland said.

Rapada was 7-2 with a 3.58 ERA and 17 saves in 55 games with
Triple-A Iowa this season. Left-handers batted only .159 against
him. To create a spot for Rapada on the 40-man roster, the Tigers
sent right-hander Aquilino Lopez outright to Toledo.

The Tigers also plan to recall four players from Toledo on
Saturday -- right-handers Yorman Bazardo and Jose Capellan and
infielders Mike Hessman and Omar Infante.