Detroit Tigers Activate Blaine Hardy, Designate Logan Kensing for Assignment

Mar 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Blaine Hardy (65) at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Blaine Hardy (65) at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers reliever Blaine Hardy returned from the disabled list on Monday, as the team designated Logan Kensing for assignment to make room. Hardy hasn’t pitched this season.

Detroit Tigers relief pitching has experienced a significant turnaround as of late. At 7-4, the Tigers have received some excellent performances from a number of relievers. New additions Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson have all pitched extremely well, while incumbents like Drew VerHagen, Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer have all had their moments.

As of Sunday, the bullpen got a shot in the arm as fellow reliever Alex Wilson was activated from the disabled list. Wilson, who had been on the disabled list all season, pitched an inning and a third on Sunday, striking out two.

Another day, another addition it seems. Detroit announced on the team’s official Twitter account that the team “will activate LHP Blaine Hardy from the 15-day disabled list.” Additionally, the Tigers also announced via Twitter that “in a corresponding move, the #Tigers will designate the contract of Logan Kensing for assignment.”

Like Alex Wilson, Hardy had been on the disabled list all of the young season. The left-handed reliever is coming off an excellent 2015 that saw him post a sparkling 3.08 ERA, and an even more aesthetically appealing 2.89 FIP.

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The Seattle native racked up 55 strikeouts in 61.1 innings, and only allowed two home runs. Additionally, of his 70 appearances, 11 came at the end of games.

With the new trio consisting of Rodriguez, Lowe and Justin Wilson handling the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, manager Brad Ausmus will now be able to pick his spots with Hardy. This should benefit both the player, and the team, as it will add yet another option to a surprisingly deep bullpen—especially considering how well Ryan and VerHagen have pitched.

To make room for Hardy, Logan Kensing was designated for assignment. It wasn’t as if the former Marlin struggled, it was just that Detroit had too many quality arms.

In 4.2 innings pitched, Kensing put up a solid 1.93 ERA for the team. He was hit hard in his first appearance, allowing three hits and a run in only two thirds of an inning against Miami. He also added a strikeout, but the outing bumped his ERA to an unsightly 13.50.

Following that appearance, the journeyman reliever saw action in two of Detroit’s losses, pitching two scoreless innings each in defeats to the Yankees and Pirates.

Based on the fact that he was only seeing game action in losses and blowouts, it isn’t surprising that Kensing was the one to go to make room for Hardy. VerHagen or Ryan could have been optioned, but both have showed well this season. In fact, Ryan has yet to allow a run in three appearances.

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It will be worth watching as to whether the Detroit Tigers are able to retain Kensing and stash him in the minors. He’d be a solid depth piece considering the quality innings he gave the team.