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Hardy callup gives Ausmus options in Detroit

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- The addition of a third left-hander doesn't make Detroit's bullpen all right, but it does give Tigers' manager Brad Ausmus some more options.

Southpaw Blaine Hardy, 27, who came close to making the Tigers out of spring training, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday and will join Phil Coke and Ian Krol as left-handers Ausmus can call on in relief.

Hardy began the season in Toledo's rotation and made six starts to go with 14 relief appearances.

"Now I can use Coke earlier and maybe for one batter," Ausmus said.

Hardy would be in play for 2-3 innings in long relief, especially against upcoming opponents such as Kansas City and Cleveland that have a lot of left-handed and switch-hitters on their rosters.

Krol, who had a tender left shoulder as he earned his first save in the majors on Saturday, now can be used a little more sparingly. He has done well in the seventh and eighth innings for Detroit.

Hardy's best pitch is a curveball that he began learning in the Kansas City organization but refined this year when Detroit signed him after the Royals released him. It is now his 'out' pitch.

There's a difference in mindset when you're warming up for long relief as opposed to knowing you're just going to face one batter, Hardy said.

"If you give up a hit right away," he said, "it's not that big a deal if you know you're going to be pitching an inning or more.

"But it's important if you come in to face one batter and he gets a hit.

"So when you're warming up to face just one batter, you concentrate on what you're going to throw to that hitter. But if you know you're going an inning or more, you warm up using all your pitches."

With three lefties instead of two, look for Ausmus to do more one-batter, left-on-left and right-against-right situational work out of his bullpen.

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