LAKELAND, Fla. -- Barring a trade or a waiver pickup, the Tigers' 25-man roster appears to be set. Detroit finalized its bullpen Thursday by assigning non-roster invitees Blaine Hardy and Jhan Marinez to Minor League camp.
"We have 25 people, but it's not the official 25 yet," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Anything can happen in 48 hours."
Hardy made a very good case to give the Tigers a third lefty reliever alongside Phil Coke and Ian Krol, taking the momentum he built from last summer's stretch run at Triple-A Toledo. He threw nine scoreless innings to start out camp before giving up four unearned runs March 18 against the Jays and three earned runs March 20 against the Nationals.
"Blaine was a guy who kind of worked his way into the discussion as being one of the possible left-handers," Ausmus said.
The 27-year-old went from a non-roster invitee to one of the final cuts of camp. Asked if the news was tough to take, Hardy smiled.
"It's not that tough, considering I came to Spring Training without having much of a chance," Hardy said. "I came to Spring Training really not expecting to make the team. That's what happened. The best part was that I actually got to show them how I pitch, and they're able to have that in their back of their heads when they're going down the Triple-A roster looking for someone to call up.
"The opportunity was there and I was able to seize it."
Hardy is expected to open the season with the Mud Hens, working out of the bullpen. He had been a starter down the stretch in Toledo last year.
Marinez, signed over the winter as a Minor League free agent, gave up 10 runs (seven earned) on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings this spring. He walked seven and struck out six. He had a rough opening outing, allowing six runs in two-thirds of an inning on Feb. 28. The right-hander then followed that with a great middle run before struggling near the end, walking five batters over his final three outings to lead to four runs.
"He actually has a good arm," Ausmus said. "He throws hard and has the potential to have a wipeout slider. I just think it's more about commanding the ball in the strike zone, getting ahead of hitters."