LAKELAND, Fla. -- With the busiest stretch of Spring Training games now complete, the Tigers made their first significant cuts of camp Tuesday, sending non-roster relievers Luke Putkonen, Joe Mantiply and Omar Duran to Minor League camp.
The moves whittle Detroit's camp roster to 52 players. The next round of cuts appears unlikely until after the Tigers' next set of split-squad games on March 22.
None of the moves was of particular surprise, though Putkonen made last year's Opening Day roster. The 28-year-old spent most of last season rehabbing from elbow problems that landed him on the disabled list in mid-April. He underwent cleanup surgery last summer, but he avoided tearing any elbow ligaments.
Putkonen proclaimed his health when Spring Training began last month, but he struggled against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on March 6, giving up three runs on three hits with two walks and a hit batter, all in two-thirds of an inning. He had three scoreless outings aside from that, but the damage was done.
"I asked him today, and he did say the elbow feels good, which is a good sign," manager Brad Ausmus said.
Still, add in the fact that he's no longer on the 40-man roster, and his odds of recapturing his spot in Detroit's bullpen grew longer.
Putkonen is expected to continue pitching out of the bullpen at Triple-A Toledo. Ausmus said there has been no talk of converting him to a starter.
For the 24-year-old Mantiply, who spent most of last season at Class A West Michigan before moving to Double-A Erie, the invite was a chance to get a look at the funky left-hander against Major League hitters. He threw 2 1/3 innings over four appearances, allowing a run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.