Tigers option Knebel, call up Blaine Hardy from Toledo

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have purchased the contract of left-handed relief pitcher Blaine Hardy from Toledo, and optioned right-handed reliever Corey Knebel.

UPDATE: The Tigers have optioned right-handed reliever Corey Knebel to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Blaine Hardy on the major league roster.

The 22 year old Knebel pitched 6-2/3 innings for Detroit, posting a 6.75 ERA with a 2.03 FIP in six appearances for the Tigers. He surrendered eight hits, three walks and struck out eight batters.

Chris Iott of MLive.com reported

"I feel like I did OK," Knebel said. "I kind of agreed. I think I need to go back down there also, get some work in. My fastball command wasn't where I hoped it would be and it's never really been like that, so I kind of feel like it's the right move."

"Up here, the hitters have a lot better eye," Knebel said. "They're not going to swing at balls that are out of the strike zone. I might have thrown a lot of balls that were just right off the plate and they see that. They know it's a ball.

"It's definitely a learning curve where I need to know, don't try to be too perfect."

TIGERS CALL UP BLAINE HARDY

John Wagner of the Toledo Blade has reported that the Tigers have purchased the contract of left-handed relief pitcher Blaine Hardy from Triple-A Toledo. Hardy is a 27-year-old pitcher who was one of the last cuts from major league camp in spring training before the start of the season, and has been pitching very well recently for the Toledo Mud Hens in relief.

Hardy
G IP ERA WHIP HR/9 BB/9 K/9 Avg
K/BB
2013 30
91.2
1.67
1.00
0.79 3.04
7.76
.190
2.55
2014
20
47.0
2.68
1.02
0.38
2.49
10.15
.208
4.08

Hardy began the 2013 season as a starting pitcher and was converted to the bullpen, where he has been very effective. He has made six starts in Toledo, as well as 14 appearances in relief. He can work multiple innings, and would be an apparent fit for the long relief role that has been vacated since Luke Putkonen was placed on the disabled list earlier this year.

There is no word yet on which player will be removed from the major league roster to make room for Hardy, who will have to be added to both the 40-man roster and the 25-man major league roster. There is one open spot on the 40-man roster.

Al Alburquerque, Ian Krol, and Corey Knebel have options remaining. Evan Reed is out of options, while Joe Nathan, Phil Coke, and Joba Chamberlain all have more than five years of service time in the major leagues, so they would have to clear waivers before being sent to the minors.

Realistically, either Coke or Reed would be designated for assignment, or Krol or Knebel will be optioned. There is no shortage of struggling relief pitchers in the Tigers' bullpen these days.

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