You asked for bullpen help. Slowly but surely, it's coming. The Tigers added another piece to the pen today, signing left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to a one-year contract. The team designated right-handed reliever Luke Putkonen for assignment to make room on the 40 man roster.
Gorzelanny spent the past two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers, primarily out of the bullpen. He made 10 starts for the Brewers in 2013, but also logged 33 appearances with a 2.70 ERA in relief. Gorzelanny only pitched 21 1/3 innings last season after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but he only allowed three runs (two earned) while striking out over a batter per inning.
Gorzelanny, 32, has spent his entire career in the National League, most of it in the Central division. He spent five years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing a 4.79 ERA in 383 1/3 innings, most of them as a starter. He improved slightly in two years with the Chicago Cubs, allowing a 4.43 ERA in 174 2/3 innings. The Washington Nationals used him out of the bullpen more often, and his ERA improved to 3.56 in 177 innings. While he logged the fewest number of innings with the Brewers, Gorzelanny only allowed a 3.30 ERA with the Brew Crew.
It comes as no surprise that Gorzelanny's numbers have improved as he transitioned into full-time bullpen duty. He has allowed a career 2.88 ERA in 171 2/3 innings out of the pen to go along with a 2.05 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Right-handed batters have hit .271/.349/.430 against him in his career, while lefties have been held to just .231/.301/.360.
Luke Putkonen was designated for assignment by the club in order to make room for Gorzelanny, but he should make it through waivers. The 28-year-old Putkonen missed nearly the entire 2014 season with an elbow injury -- he had surgery in June -- and he was only able to throw 1 2/3 innings in August before the team shut him down for the season.