Mud Hens left-hander Blaine Hardy was promoted to Detroit following Toledo’s 7-2 win over Buffalo tonight.
It marked the first major-league call-up for Hardy, who last season was signed by the Tigers as a minor-league free agent.
“It’s starting to sink in, but it’s going to sink in more when I get up there,” Hardy admitted Saturday night after learning of the promotion. “It’s a thrill.
“Hopefully I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and impress them up there.”
This season the 27-year-old lefty was 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA in 20 appearances with the Mud Hens, including six starts.
Hardy is in his second season in the Tigers organization. He originally was drafted by Kansas City and eventually pitched for the Royals’ Triple-A team in Omaha for parts of three seasons from 2010-12.
But the Royals released him at the end of spring training last season.
“Getting released by Kansas City was devastating – it hit me as a shock,” Hardy admitted. “But getting that second chance from Detroit boosted my spirits back up where they needed to be.”
Last year Hardy began the season in the Double-A Erie bullpen, where he was 2-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 16 appearances before earning a promotion to Toledo. He joined the Hens rotation after the All-Star Break and flourished, finishing the season with a 6-1 record and 1.69 ERA.
Hardy earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League, then was one of the last pitchers the Tigers sent down to Toledo at the end of spring training.
“I had a great spring training in my eyes, and I know I opened some eyes in Detroit,” Hardy said. “But I had to push that aside and pitch the way I always have.”
The Seattle native struggled to start this season, posting a 5.40 ERA in nine April appearances. But a move into the Toledo rotation seemed to get Hardy back on track.
In his last five relief appearances he has given up just two hits and two walks in 9 2/3 innings, surrendering just one run while striking out 13.
On the season Hardy has fanned 53 while giving up just 13 walks in 47 innings.