DETROIT -- Blaine Hardy's recovery is coming along well. The Detroit Tigers reliever had his first rehab outing on Saturday, since being shut down for a left shoulder impingement on April 3 -- retroactive to March 25.
"(My shoulder) feels great!" Hardy said via text message. This was his first time being back on the mound since a spring training appearance on March 21, and acknowledged there was "normal soreness" but nothing out of the ordinary.
During Hardy's outing with the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Saturday, he pitched one inning and gave up just one hit, striking out two. He threw 19 pitches, 15 of which were for strikes.
That is, by far, the best result he's had since his March 6 spring training appearance when he gave the Tigers a scoreless inning of work, striking out a batter. Since then, Hardy had been unable to go a full inning without surrendering a run.
After getting a day of rest on Sunday, Hardy confirmed he will pitch again on Monday when Lakeland takes on the Jupiter Hammerheads at 6 p.m. ET, a Class A affiliate for the Miami Marlins.
Hardy is scheduled to pitch two innings this time, with a pitch count limit of about 40 pitches. If he experiences no setbacks, Hardy may very well rejoin Detroit in the near future as Tigers manager Brad Ausmus stated on Friday.
In 2015, Hardy was one of the Tigers' most reliable arms in the bullpen. He tallied a 3.08 ERA in 61 1/3 innings pitched, allowing only two home runs all year while striking out 8.1 batters per nine innings.
His 2.89 FIP was also the lowest of any Tigers reliever despite appearing in the most game of any member of the bullpen -- 70 games.
Update: Ausmus added Monday morning that Hardy has two more outings after Monday's game, which will take place on April 14 and 15. Barring no additional issues, Hardy should make his return to the Tigers following those outings, but the team will assess his health before making a definitive decision.