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Tigers place Norris on DL; recall Hardy

MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers made a move with Daniel Norris now that they don't need a fifth starter until after the All-Star break. However, their decision to place him on the 10-day disabled list was not the move many had anticipated.

Left-hander Blaine Hardy was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take Norris' place, giving Detroit an extra reliever for its upcoming three-game series against the Indians in Cleveland.

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DETROIT -- The Tigers made a move with Daniel Norris now that they don't need a fifth starter until after the All-Star break. However, their decision to place him on the 10-day disabled list was not the move many had anticipated.

Left-hander Blaine Hardy was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take Norris' place, giving Detroit an extra reliever for its upcoming three-game series against the Indians in Cleveland.

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Though Norris pitched through a left groin injury for four tough innings in Wednesday's loss to the Giants, the Tigers had enough concern once he left the game to have him undergo an MRI exam Thursday morning. The injury happened before Norris noticeably hobbled fielding a comebacker to end the second inning.

"I found out about it in the second inning last night," manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday morning.

Ausmus and pitching coach Rich Dubee met with Norris following Wednesday's loss to discuss the move as well as his recent struggles.

With four days off next week for the All-Star break, the Tigers won't need a fifth starter until July 18 at Kansas City. The four-day break counts against a 10-day DL stint, so Norris will be eligible to return without the Tigers needing a fill-in starter. Whether he does, however, depends on his health and the Tigers' confidence in his current state as a Major League starter.

"He has to get healthy first," Ausmus said.

Video: DET@MIN: Hardy strikes out Kepler in the 5th

Norris has given up five runs in each of his past three starts, and has been pulled by the fifth inning in his past two outings. He gave up five runs on seven hits over four innings Wednesday, and Ausmus said the groin injury wasn't the determining factor in pulling him for long reliever Warwick Saupold.

Thanks to the DL stint, the Tigers could let Norris work in the Minors for a short time without having to option him. They'd have to call up another starter to fill in, which could be an opportunity for Matthew Boyd to return from his stint with the Mud Hens. Boyd is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA at Toledo, including eight innings of two-hit, one-run ball last Sunday.

Norris was emotional after Wednesday's loss, noting how badly he wants to help the team. Ausmus said after the game, and again Thursday morning, that Norris' desire to help the team can work against him.

"You want passion," Ausmus said, "but you don't want emotion that gets in the way of performance. I think he's got a little bit of both."

Hardy rejoins the Tigers in time to give Ausmus an extra lefty reliever against the Indians, a team that has given Detroit matchup problems for the past year and a half. The Tribe took two of three games in Detroit last weekend, scoring five runs on eight hits over 11 2/3 innings against the Tigers bullpen. Lefty Daniel Stumpf particularly struggled, allowing a game-tying home run in one game and walking batters in the other two.

Hardy, who has posted a 4.15 ERA and yielded 21 hits over 17 1/3 innings with the Tigers this season, has been very good at Toledo with a 6-2 record, 2.57 ERA and 20-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 21 innings. He picked up wins in his past three outings for the Mud Hens. He has allowed one unearned run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings against Cleveland over the past year and a half.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Blaine Hardy, Daniel Norris