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Bullpen carousel continues: Ryan up, Krol down

KANSAS CITY -- The Tigers made a change in their bullpen coming off Ian Krol's four-run eighth inning on Sunday. Kyle Ryan was recalled from Triple-A Toledo, and Krol was optioned back to the Mud Hens before Monday's 4-0 loss to the Royals.

Ryan gave up one hit and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings in the series opener in Kansas City.

It's the third time Krol has been optioned out this season after making the Opening Day roster. He seemingly had found his footing in July, but had struggled lately to finish off hitters. Tom Gorzelanny's return Sunday wasn't a good sign for Krol's role.

All four hits the lefty-throwing Krol allowed Sunday came from left-handed hitters, highlighted by a bases-clearing triple from Jackie Bradley Jr. That raised left-handed hitters' batting average off Krol to .359 (14-for-39), slightly higher than the .320 average (16-for-50) he has yielded to right-handed batters.

At times, such as most of July, Krol's pitches have looked strong, mainly when he has an effective breaking ball and can locate his fastball for strikes. The consistency, however, hasn't been there for the 24-year-old, the sign of a reliever who's searching for a confidence and comfort level.

"In my mind, with that arm, I think he's going to be a much better pitcher than what we've seen," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Ryan made two starts since rejoining Toledo, most recently tossing eight scoreless innings on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts last Thursday. He, too, has been bouncing back and forth this season, now up for the third time.

Unlike past stints, however, Ryan is up purely as a reliever. With Buck Farmer also in the bullpen, that puts two of Detroit's insurance starters in relief as recently-demoted Shane Greene tries to find his footing again in Toledo and Michael Fulmer continues to dominate at Double-A Erie.

Ryan joins Gorzelanny and Blaine Hardy as the left-handed portion of Detroit's bullpen. It remains to be seen if the Tigers could bolster that group from within in September. Sidearmer Joe Mantiply, a non-roster invitee in Spring Training, has held opposing batters hitless in 20 at-bats in August. However, he's not on the 40-man roster, and he doesn't have to be added to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
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