Tigers begin paring down roster

Tigers begin paring down 40-man roster

DETROIT -- Sean Douglass might have found himself as a Major League pitcher in 2005, but he won't find himself in Detroit next year.

The Tigers began the offseason task of paring down their 40-man roster Monday, releasing Gary Knotts and outrighting the contracts of five players to Triple-A Toledo after clearing waivers. Douglass, meanwhile, was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians, who added him to their roster.

All five of the outrighted Tigers -- infielder Kevin Hooper and relievers Doug Creek, Vic Darensbourg, Matt Ginter and Jason Karnuth -- elected free agency.

Douglass, signed by the Tigers as a Minor League free agent last winter, earned a spot in Detroit's rotation after going 9-1 at Triple-A Toledo. Called up in June, he went unbeaten in his first five starts and held the Mariners to a run on three hits in eight innings August 4 before the rest of the American League caught up. He was sent to the bullpen in September before rejoining the rotation later in the month to turn in a pair of quality starts.

At one point this summer, then-manager Alan Trammell said he thought Douglass could stick with the Tigers next year. However, those comments came before his second-half slide and before the team began formulating what it will do with the pitching staff for 2006.

The claim by the Indians puts Douglass with his fifth organization since 2003 despite his relatively young age of 26.

Knotts received his unconditional release after spending the entire season on the disabled list. He reported an injured shoulder at the end of Spring Training and went on the DL from there. Part of the Mark Redman trade three seasons ago, the right-hander went 10-14 with two saves and a 5.58 ERA in two seasons for the Tigers.

All the other players let go were relative veterans of the Minor Leagues. Ginter spent Spring Training in Mets camp before the Tigers acquired him April 2 in exchange for Steve Colyer. Used as a long reliever, he posted a 5.47 ERA in 10 appearances before the Tigers sent him to Toledo in mid-June. He returned for a September callup and gave up nine runs in 10 1/3 innings, including a spot-start September 18 against the Angels.

Darensbourg, a well-traveled left-handed specialist, gave up one earned run in 30 2/3 innings over 44 games for Toledo before earning the call to the big leagues. Once he arrived in Detroit, the sidearmer held left-handed hitters to a .231 batting average but gave up a .326 average to righties. He also limited hitters to a .208 average with runners in scoring position. He finished with a 2.82 ERA and 24 hits allowed in 22 1/3 innings for the Tigers, but he may best be remembered in Detroit for starting a double play with no outs instead of throwing out the go-ahead runner between third base and home plate September 23 against Seattle.

Fellow left-hander Creek posted a 6.85 ERA in 20 appearances for Detroit, which called him up from Toledo in early May and sent him back in late July before granting him a September callup. He allowed just two of 15 inherited runners to score.

Karnuth became a surprise for Toledo with 23 saves in 26 chances for the International League champions to go with a 7-2 record and 2.13 ERA. The Tigers purchased his contract Sept. 16, and he made his Tigers debut three days later at Kansas City.

Hooper, a Triple-A veteran utility infielder, made his Major League debut July 9 at Tampa Bay at age 29. He went 1-for-5 in six games before being sent back to Toledo later in the month.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.