It came down to the lesser of three bad options for Tigers veteran reliever Blaine Hardy. After pitching, and mostly pitching well, through elbow and forearm pain all season, it came down to this:
?He could continue pitching through the pain, which recently had been having negative consequences.
?He could have surgery, which would cost him the 2020 season. Losing a full year, at age 32, was a non-starter.
?He could have a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection, which will shut him down for the rest of the season.
Hardy chose the third option. His season is over.
He gave the Tigers 44? innings, posting a 1.150 WHIP, second best on the club behind the traded Shane Greene. Opponents hit just .232 against him with a sub-.300 on-base average (.282), though the 10 home runs he gave up tied his career-high.
The exit velocity on balls put in play against him was 84.8 mph, which is in the top three percentile in Major League Baseball. The hard-hit rate against him, 29.3 percent, is in the top seven percent.
Pretty remarkable considering the pain in his elbow effectively forced him to abandon one of his best pitches — the cutter, the pitch he threw more than and other last season.