DETROIT — Six years after Ian Krol last pitched out of the Tigers’ bullpen, he’ll be back with the club for Spring Training in a comeback attempt. The Tigers announced Monday that they’ve signed the lefty reliever to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invite to big league camp.
DETROIT — Six years after
It’s an interesting flyer the Tigers are taking on a familiar face. Krol pitched two seasons in Detroit after joining the club from Washington as part of the Doug Fister trade. Krol posted a 2-3 record, 5.34 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings over 78 appearances from 2014-15 before the Tigers sent him to Atlanta as part of the Cameron Maybin trade.
Krol pitched for two seasons in Atlanta, then made one two-inning appearance with the Angels in 2018, his last big league stint. After bouncing around four organizations in two years and serving a 50-game suspension for a drug-related violation in 2019, Krol pitched this past summer in the City of Champions Cup, a four-team independent league based out of Joliet, Ill. He dominated the league, allowing one run on eight hits in 19 1/3 innings with three walks and 31 strikeouts.
“I’ve pretty much gone through it all,” Krol told the Naperville Sun in August. “There’s not much that hasn’t happened to me, so at that point you just roll with the punches. I want to get back to affiliated ball and work my way back to the Majors.”
His best chance to do so was back at one of his old stops. The Tigers have been looking for pitching depth as they get ready to ramp up their returning pitchers from the 60-game 2020 schedule — or no schedule in the Minor Leagues — to 162 games. The Tigers lost a relief prospect last week when the Mariners selected right-hander Will Vest in the Rule 5 Draft.
Still, the Tigers are slated to bring back lefty relievers Gregory Soto, Daniel Norris and Tyler Alexander, though the latter two could serve as starters if needed. Lefty reliever Caleb Thielbar spent two seasons in the Tigers’ system in his comeback attempt before making it back to the big leagues with Minnesota this year.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.