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Tigers call up Corey Knebel, send Robbie Ray back to Toledo

The Tigers have called up relief pitcher Corey Knebel from Triple-A Toledo and optioned left-handed starter Robbie Ray back to Toledo, where he'll rejoin the Mud Hens' rotation.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are in dire need of bullpen help, their relief staff in disarray thanks to a rough stretch from the rotation. After today's 9-2 loss to the Texas Rangers, the Tigers announced they are calling up right-handed relief pitcher Corey Knebel from Triple-A Toledo. To make room on the 25-man roster, left-handed starting pitcher Robbie Ray was optioned back to Toledo.  Knebel will join the team before tomorrow's game with the Rangers.

Knebel was selected by the Tigers in the first round of last year's June draft, and spent the rest of the summer at Low-A West Michigan, where he was very effective in 31 innings of work. The club decided to let Knebel skip High-A ball at Lakeland and assigned him instead to Double-A Erie.  After dominating hitters at that level, he was promoted to Triple-A Toledo on May 12, 2014, and has now been called up to the major leagues.

The Tigers will have to make a corresponding move to make room for Knebel on the 40 man roster. An announcement is expected before Friday's game.

Following are his vital statistics in the minor leagues since being drafted by Detroit.

2013 minors 31 31.0 0.87 0.77 0 10 41 4.10 Low A
2014 minors 14 19.0 0.95 1.00 1 9 27 3.00 AA, AAA
Career minors 45 50 0.90 0.86 1 19 68 3.58 ---

The Tigers chose Knebel with the supplemental first round pick, 39th overall, that the club received in the trade that brought Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit in exchange for pitcher Justin Turner and catcher Rob Brantly.  BYB's Jordan Gorosh recently wondered how much Knebel really had to learn in the minors in this article, where he provides a synopsis of Knebel's work.

Robbie Ray was very effective in two starts, against the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, but not effective against the Texas Rangers. In 15-1/3 innings with Detroit, he has a net ERA of 4.70, allowing 19 hits, walking six batters and striking out nine. He very likely remains first in line should the Tigers need a spot start.

In other news, the club announced that reliever Luke Putkonen's visit with Dr. James Andrews revealed no structural damage in his elbow and he will not need surgery.