BOSTON -- Nate Robertson's comeback as a sidearming reliever appears to be over, at least from the Tigers' perspective, and possibly his own. The Tigers granted the 36-year-old left-hander his release on Saturday, about two months after signing him to a Minor League contract.
It could be a tough end to a career that brought Robertson onto the mound as a starting pitcher in the World Series back in 2006, then earned him a three-year contract a year later. After injuries and inconsistency, he tried to make it back out of the bullpen, signing with his old club midway through Spring Training looking for a shot.
While Robertson's early numbers were encouraging, his struggles with command and his struggles to retire left-handed hitters proved to be a problem. He walked 13 batters over 21 innings at Triple-A Toledo, and lefty hitters batted .290 against him.
Robertson's inactivity in recent weeks was a bad sign. He pitched just twice in May, and hadn't pitched in a week since walking three batters over 1 2/3 innings with two earned runs allowed against Rochester.
Robertson told MLB.com in a text message Saturday that this was "most likely" his last stop as a player. He had hinted at that when he talked about his comeback attempt last month.
"All is well," Robertson said. "I'm just too old. Gave it a good run, and I really enjoyed it."
Another Mud Hens reliever, Jhan Marinez, was also released. The 26-year-old right-hander signed as a Minor League free agent this past offseason, but never showed the command he needed. He walked 21 batters with 21 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings, allowing 18 earned runs on 23 hits. He, too, had been knocked down the pecking order, with just two appearances over the last couple weeks.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.