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Countdown to Spring Training: RHP Joe Jimenez

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Mud Hens relief pitcher Joe Jimenez throws against the Columbus Clippers during a game last July

BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

The Tigers will open spring training on Feb. 13, which means baseball season is coming. Here is a daily look at players with possible ties to the 2018 Mud Hens, whose home opener is set for April 12 vs. Pawtucket.

RHP Joe Jimenez

History: Jimenez remains one of the best young arms in the Tigers organization despite struggling in the majors last season. The hard-throwing right-hander surrendered 31 hits and 26 runs in just 19.0 innings for a 12.32 ERA in 24 appearances with Detroit after making his MLB debut. It was the first bump in the road after Jimenez cruised through three levels in 2016, combining for 30 saves and a 1.51 ERA with 78 strikeouts in just 53.2 innings. Last year he pitched in 26 games for the Mud Hens and was 1-1 with four saves and a 1.44 ERA, but he missed much of the season with a back injury.

Future: Jimenez, who turns 23 on Jan. 17, will get an opportunity to earn a spot in the Tigers bullpen this spring. If he fails, he will return to the Mud Hens and work to earn another opportunity in Detroit.

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