Hardy giving Tigers reliable lefty relief

Hardy giving Tigers reliable lefty relief

ST. LOUIS -- A permanent role in the Tigers' bullpen was far from a guarantee for Blaine Hardy when he was called up from Triple-A Toledo on April 9, but the lefty has made a compelling case to stay long term.

Hardy turned in another strong outing Saturday, earning his first win of the season for the Tigers in a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals in 10 innings. Hardy struck out two while pitching a scoreless ninth.

Hardy entered play Sunday with a 1-0 record with a 3.77 ERA in 13 appearances this season out of the Tigers' bullpen. In his last five outings prior to the Tigers' game Sunday night vs. St. Louis, Hardy did not give up a run and struck out five over 4 1/3 innings of work.

Curveball command has been the key to Hardy's success.

"His curveball had been up in Spring Training, and into the beginning of the season, and he's been able to get his release point a little bit more out in front of him and get it down in the zone for strikes," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's a good pitch for him."

Tigers' injury update

• Justin Verlander (right triceps strain) will throw another bullpen session Monday. He is expected to throw around 45 pitches.

• Bruce Rondon (bicipital tendinitis) will throw around 25 pitches in a simulated bullpen session.

• Shane Greene (mild ulnar tendinitis) threw a light bullpen session Sunday and said he felt good after having to leave Friday's start early.

"Hopefully it's just a freak thing," Greene said. "The MRI looked good. I guess a lot of hitters get it sometimes when they swing. Hopefully that's what it was from. There's no real exact, pinpoint answer. All I can tell you is that it wasn't tingling today."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.