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Detroit — The Tigers have begun the process of trimming their 40-man roster, presumably in advance of protecting some of their top prospects who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December.

Most notably, left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy was given his outright release.

Hardy, who will be 33 in March, has been with the Tigers since 2014, longer than any current player except Miguel Cabrera. Hardy battled elbow pain and finished last season on the 60-day injured list.

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In his six seasons in Detroit, primarily a multi-role reliever though he made 13 starts in 2018, he was 14-10 with a 3.73 ERA.

“I am truly fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to play for such a great organization, in front of such amazing fans, and to have lived in such a great city,” Hardy tweeted Thursday “Our family is excited to see where we land next season; Thank you, Detroit.”

Outrighted to Toledo were left-handed pitcher Nick Ramirez, who pitched more innings than any other Tigers reliever last season (79.2 innings), right-handers Eduardo Jimenez and Zac Reininger and outfielder Dustin Peterson.

Right-hander Victor Alcantara, lefty Daniel Stumpf and catcher John Hicks also were outrigthted to Toledo, but elected free agency, the Tigers said.

With free agents-to-be Gordon Beckham, Edwin Jackson, Matt Moore and Tyson Ross coming of the roster, there are 34 players on the 40-man roster.

Center fielder Daz Cameron and pitcher Beau Burrows are expected to be added to the roster. Decisions are looming for prospects like pitchers Kyle Funkhouser and Anthony Castro, and center fielder and former first-round pick Derek Hill.

cmccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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