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Detroit Tigers Reportedly Sign Collin Balester to Minors Deals

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Aug 20, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers hat and glove in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers hat and glove in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila reportedly added another depth piece on Friday. According to the latest report, the team inked Collin Balester to a minor league deal.

Detroit Tigers fans will reportedly see yet another familiar face return to the organization next season.

With Alex Avila, Omar Infante and Alex Presley (reportedly) back in the fold, another name can be added to the list.

According to the Detroit Free Press’ George Sipple, Collin Balester is signing with the club.

Sipple tweeted on Friday afternoon, “Collin Balester coming back to #Tigers on minor league deal. He’s 30. Pitched for #Tigers in 2012. Pitched in Korea last season.”

A former fourth-round pick of the Montreal Expos back in 2004, Balester has seen action with three different franchises.

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While he’s appeared in games for both the Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, most of the right-hander’s Major League experience came in a four-year span with the Washington Nationals.

In parts of four campaigns with the Nationals, Balester turned in a 5.17 ERA and a 5.29 FIP in 167 innings.

Those innings included 22 starts and 40 relief appearances.

Washington dealt the right-hander to Detroit for fellow reliever Ryan Perry in December of 2011.

The ex-National would go on to post a 2-0 record with a 6.50 ERA in 18 relief outings for the Tigers. He logged a 3.64 ERA in 47 innings of work for Triple-A Toledo that season, striking out 8.6 batters per nine innings.

The veteran most recently pitched in 15 games for the Reds in 2015, totaling 15.2 innings of 7.47 ERA ball.

Mar 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Collin Balester (71) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at a spring training baseball game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Collin Balester (71) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at a spring training baseball game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Balester was much more productive in the upper minors in that season, notching a 2.21 ERA and 11 saves in 57 relief innings.

During the 2016 season, Balester pitched for the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball.

Potential Role with the Detroit Tigers

Given the 30-year-old’s recent work in the bullpen, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him be in the mix for a relief role this spring.

Detroit certainly has plenty of options, with the likes of Bruce Rondon, Justin Wilson and Shane Greene forming a bridge to Francisco Rodriguez.

However, there is still the chance that Wilson could be dealt before the season begins.

Next: Guess Who's Back, Back Again

What’s more, injuries and inconsistencies tend to come around every season. In other words, Balester could eventually get an opportunity later in the season should he start the season in the minors.

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