Blaine Hardy is back. The Detroit Tigers announced on Monday that the left-handed reliever had been activated from the 15-day disabled list. Right-handed reliever Logan Kensing has been designated for assignment to make room for Hardy on the 25-man roster since he's out of options.
Hardy has been on the DL since March 25 for a left shoulder impingement. He was sent to Lakeland to rehab with the Flying Tigers, where he made quick progress with nothing more than normal soreness.
On April 14, he was transferred to the Toledo Mud Hens to continue his rehab, where he made two appearances. The two outings, which occurred back-to-back, went smoothly. In the 1 2/3 innings of relief he pitched, Hardy allowed just one hit, walked a batter, and struck out three.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus previously surmised that both he and Alex Wilson were on track to return to the team in mid-April, give or take a few days. As Wilson recently was reactivated, as well, that has held true.
The Tigers have Monday off but Hardy will be rejoining the team in Kansas City immediately. On Tuesday, the team will begin a three-game series against the Royals, their first series facing a division opponent this season.
Having another solid arm in the bullpen will boost what has already been a stellar back end. But with how the Tigers' rotation has been pitching in the last week, the team needs all the support they can muster.
Wilson's return served to emphasis that point further when he gave the Tigers 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out two in a 5-4 series loss to the Houston Astros.
As for Kensing, his time with Detroit was brief. In his time with the Tigers, he pitched only three times in relief. Two of those times were in losses where the team needed an arm that could just eat some innings. In both instances, Kensing produced two scoreless innings apiece, giving up five hits in all but no runs.
It was far fetched to think Kensing would last beyond those who were on the DL. In essence, he was a placeholder. While he's not an option at this point, he did show positive signs for the future. He'll be a pitcher to keep an eye on going forward.