Source: Tigers to call up lefty Oliver

The Detroit Tigers will call up left-handed pitching prospect Andy Oliver to start Friday against the Atlanta Braves, one source told

Oliver, 22, was Detroit’s second-round pick in last year’s amateur draft. He is 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Erie. The numbers are more impressive when considering that Erie plays its home games in a hitter-friendly ballpark.

Tigers officials indicated in recent weeks that Oliver might be ready to pitch in the majors this year. He will apparently satisfy the team’s need for a left-handed starter — something the rotation had previously lacked.

There is a touch of irony to the decision. Oliver is taking the place of Rick Porcello, the 2009 Rookie of the Year candidate who struggled mightily in the majors this season.

Porcello, now 21, made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster last year despite having no experience at Double-A or Triple-A. Now he’s being replaced by a pitcher with fewer than three months of regular season experience in the minor leagues — albeit one who performed well in the 2009 Arizona Fall League.