Dontrelle Willis Optioned to Single-A after Rough Start in Detroit

Taylor SmithAnalyst IJune 10, 2008

Tigers SP Dontrelle Willis has had a rough start to his first season with the Tigers. Monday night's dismal start against the Cleveland Indians may have been his last for a while. 

Tuesday, the Tigers demoted the former NL Rookie of the Year to their Class—A affiliate in Lakeland to try and work on his mechanics. Willis' main focus while trying to regain his old form in the minors will be actually getting hitters out.

"He's horrible, he's the worst starting pitcher I've ever seen, and I'm older than hell so I've seen my fair share of bad pitchers", said Tigers manager Jim Leyland following Monday night's loss. "Seriously. I've never wanted to smoke so much in my life. Watching this guy pitch is taking at least nine years off of my life each time we run him out there". 

"To be honest, I didn't see this coming at all", said Willis, who in four starts this season, boasts a healthy 10.32 ERA, with 21 walks and five strikeouts. "Once I remembered that a strikeout is different from a walk, I really felt like I had started to get everything back together". 

"Well, naturally, we're sad to see him go", said Indians' manager Eric Wedge. "We've had a crappy start to the season, and we were hoping this guy would be able to help us get back into it. Hopefully he gets back up here before it's too late". 

The Tigers, meanwhile, sit at fourth in the AL Central as of Tuesday, with only the even more atrocious Kansas City Royals behind them.