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Detroit Tigers reliever Joe Nathan will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery

After a tumultuous first season in Detroit, Joe Nathan's second one comes to a close before it could even begin.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT -- Joe Nathan's season is done. The right-handed reliever will undergo Tommy John surgery at a date to be determined, ending not just his year, but possibly his career. Additionally, the Detroit Tigers announced that Ian Krol had been optioned to Triple-A Toledo following Wednesday night's game.

"There's no good time to have an injury like that," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I don't know that I would say Joe's done pitching, maybe after the surgery he may want to continue pitching. I don't know if it's necessarily the last pitch he's thrown, but obviously not good for Joe, or for us."

It's been five years and one month to the day since Nathan underwent his last Tommy John surgery. Nathan pitched in one game this season, getting the final out on Opening Day. The day after, Nathan underwent an MRI that showed he had a flexor strain. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list and progressed well, showing no signs of regressing.

During Nathan's rehab outing in Toledo, what was supposed to be his last step before rejoining the team, Nathan felt a pop in his right elbow on the 10th pitch of the inning, and after throwing one warmup pitch, Nathan exited the game in obvious pain.

Nathan went for tests at the DMC in Detroit, at which point the Tigers learned Nathan had a UCL tear and flexor pronator tear and would undergo season-ending surgery. The date of the surgery hadn't yet been set.

As for Krol, he's had a difficult time finding the strike zone, not only since the team headed North but throughout spring training, as well. Wednesday night was the second of two mostly-solid performances for the Tigers since Opening Day, but he still has a great deal to work on before he'll be consistently able to contribute in the bullpen.

Through 5 2/3 innings pitched, Krol had 4.76 ERA but a 7.49 FIP. He has five strikeouts to just three walks, and allowed two home runs in an outing against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Krol has a 4.93 ERA and 5.52 FIP in 38 1/3 total innings with the Tigers since arriving via trade in December 2013.

In Krol's place, the Tigers recalled right-handed pitcher Alex Wilson, who had been perfect through 5 1/3 innings of relief for the Mud Hens. Wilson has allowed just four hits and walked one in four outings, striking out five in that time. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities and is holding opposing batters to a .211 batting average.