DETROIT -- Though the Tigers sent down Brayan Villarreal on Tuesday night to open a 25-man roster spot for Jose Valverde, they still had to find room on the 40-man roster. Whether or not one believes that Duane Below deserved to be dropped, he's somebody the Tigers had to believe stands a reasonable chance of sneaking through waivers.
Thus, Below was the one designated for assignment. The Tigers have 10 days to either trade Below, release him, or outright his contract to Triple-A Toledo. For an outright to happen, he'll have to clear waivers unclaimed.
The 27-year-old Below has bounced back from a miserable Spring Training to put up four quality starts in as many chances at Toledo. His 1-2 record belies his 2.10 ERA and 15 hits allowed over 25 2/3 innings. He has walked four and struck out 15.
An outright assignment wouldn't rule out a return to Detroit for Below. The Tigers would simply have to purchase his contract and open up a 40-man roster spot to do it.
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.