Throughout Spring Training, Tim Byrdak was assured of having a spot in the Tigers' bullpen. At several times last year, he was one of Detroit's best relievers, demonstrating surprising strikeout abilities. (And as Kurt points out, Byrdak came with a great story, too.) For the season, he was 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA, striking out 49 batters in 45 innings.
Even just a couple of days ago, Byrdak's status didn't even seem to be a question. Along with Bobby Seay, he was going to be one of Jim Leyland's trusted left-handers.
But then he started pitching badly. Really badly. Last week, Byrdak was terrible against the Washington Nationals, giving up two home runs, and managing to tick off Jim Leyland in the process.
Last night's outing, however, apparently gave the Tigers all they could stand, and they couldn't stand anymore. Byrdak walked four batters and gave up three runs without recording an out. Once the smoke cleared, his spring ERA was 13.50. He'd given up 15 runs, 21 hits, and nine walks in 10 innings. Leyland said Byrdak still had a spot on the team (as logic-defying as that sounded), but that opinion obviously changed after the Tigers' braintrust had a night of sleep to think it over.
This morning, the Tigers released Byrdak. The move now leaves Detroit with two open spots in their bullpen. Does that mean both Yorman Bazardo and Aquilino Lopez will make the Opening Day roster? Perhaps, but you'd have to think Jim Leyland would like another left-hander in his bullpen to complement Seay as the situational lefty. Could this change the plan to make Macay McBride a starter in Toledo?
(via The Spotstarters)