Detroit Tigers claim reliever Braden Bristo, transfer Austin Meadows to 60-day injured list

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers claimed right-handed reliever Braden Bristo off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays, and to make room for the newcomer on the 40-man roster, outfielder Austin Meadows has been transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Meadows, who turns 28 this week, has been on the injured list since April 8, retroactive to April 7, with anxiety. He won’t be eligible to return from the injured list until the second week in June.

Bristo, 28, has been optioned to Triple-A Toledo.

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In 2022, Bristo pitched in 41 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the New York Yankees’ organization. He posted a 4.56 ERA with 31 walks (12.8% walk rate) and 64 strikeouts (26.3% strikeout rate) across 53⅓ innings.

He mixes four pitches — cutter, sinker, sweeper, changeup — and is known for a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks. Locating his pitches more consistently would help him take the next step in his development.

Bristo signed a minor-league contract with the Rays in the offseason and made his MLB debut April 13 against the Boston Red Sox. He fired three scoreless innings with one walk and four strikeouts, throwing 29 of 42 pitches for strikes.

After that, the Rays optioned him back to Triple-A Durham. He has a 10.00 ERA with four walks and 10 strikeouts across nine innings in six appearances at the Triple-A level this season.

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The former 23rd-round draft pick (by the Yankees in 2016) was designated for assignment by the Rays on Saturday. Two days later, the Tigers officially added him to boost their bullpen depth.

Minor signings

• The Tigers signed right-handed reliever Heath Hembree, an 11-year MLB veteran, to a minor-league contract. He has been assigned to Triple-A Toledo. The 34-year-old pitched in one game out of the bullpen for the Rays this season. He was designated for assignment, and after clearing waivers, he elected free agency. Hembree has pitched for eight teams in his career — including the Boston Red Sox from 2014-20 — and owns a 4.37 ERA with 146 walks (9.4% walk rate) and 394 strikeouts (25.4% strikeout rate) across 356 innings in 358 relief appearances.

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• The Tigers signed left-handed reliever Sam Clay to a minor-league contract. The 29-year-old, who hasn’t pitched since spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks, has been assigned to the Florida Complex League. He has a 5.90 ERA with 26 walks (10.7% walk rate) and 39 strikeouts (16.1% strikeout rate) across 50⅓ innings and 65 games in his MLB career.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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