By Brad Faber @Brad_Faber on April 24, 2014
The Toledo Mud Hens, the Detroit Tigers' Triple-A affiliate, are not off to a particularly good start this season. They currently have an 8-12 record and are near the bottom of their division at the moment. However, manager Larry Parrish still has quite a few good players on his club, and the Tigers have had to dip into their talented Triple-A roster a few times already. Here are five interesting stories to follow from Toledo.
Hernan Perez was thought to be a potential candidate to replace the injured Jose Iglesias this spring, but he was passed up along with Danny Worth and Eugenio Suarez. Early this week, Perez was once again denied when the Tigers released Alex Sanchez and called up Worth. However, he continues to play well. He is currently batting a solid .267 with a homer, 10 RBIs and four stolen bases. He has a respectable fielding percentage of .961 at SS.
Tyler Collins made the Tigers' Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, but he was only given 14 at-bats before being sent back down. Since joining the Mud Hens, Collins has hit .350 with two home runs and seven RBIs. If he continues to hit like this, he may be back in Detroit very soon. The right-handed heavy Tigers could certainly use another threatening left-handed bat against right-handed pitching.
Nate Robertson was a big part of the Tigers' 2006 American League championship team when he went 13-13 with a 3.84 ERA. However, it was all downhill after that. He has not been seen in the major leagues since 2010, when he split time between the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies and posted a combined ERA of 5.95. No longer a starter, Robertson has an 0-2 record but has a shining ERA of 2.19 in nine relief appearances.
The Tigers are expecting big things from Robbie Ray in the future, as he was widely considered to be the deal breaker in the Doug Fister trade. In his first four starts, Ray has certainly not disappointed. He has a 2-2 record and a sparkling ERA of 1.93 at the moment. His best start of the season came just last night when he tossed 8.1 innings of shutout ball while recording seven strikeouts. This kid is the real deal.
Mike Hessman, who played for the Mud Hens from 2005-09 and saw time with the Tigers in 2007 and 2008, has returned to Toledo and is very likely to hit his 400th minor league home run this season. Last night, Hessman clobbered No. 392 and is currently 11th on the all-time list of minor league home run hitters. If he is able to notch No. 400, he will become just the eighth player in history to hit 400 minor league home runs.
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