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Tigers adding lefty reliever via trade is unlikely

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DETROIT -- Lost in the wow factor of the Tigers' rotation in the wake of the David Price trade was the lack of movement in the bullpen. The lefty arm they acquired was a starter, but the bullpen stayed the same.

Though the Tigers could pull off a trade in August, they'd have to pass a player through waivers to do it. Unless a player has a large long-term contract -- and no lefty relievers do -- most players get claimed. Even D-backs lefty Oliver Perez's two-year, $4.25 million contract, while lucrative, isn't backbreaking for most clubs.

Thus, the lefties the Tigers have in their system now are most likely the lefties they'll have for October. That includes veteran postseason performer Phil Coke, who has shown flashes of his old form this summer but is still seeking consistency, and curveballer Blaine Hardy.

"We'll just kind of let it play out and see where we're at," pitching coach Jeff Jones said.

The Tigers did make a bullpen move at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but it wasn't a trade. Detroit moved Patrick McCoy off the 15-day disabled list and optioned Ian Krol, their primary lefty early in the season, back to Triple-A Toledo.

Krol, owner of the best pitches among the lefty relief options, is expected to make his way back. He needs regular work to do it, and after ranking among the league leaders in appearances for nearly three months, he hasn't been getting it lately.

"He needs to pitch," Jones said of Krol. "Since he came back from the shoulder situation, he hasn't thrown that much. We want him to get down there and pitch, get comfortable again, just use all of his pitches down there. Hopefully he'll go down there and pitch well and get a chance to come back."

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.

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