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Detroit – Even though it was just happenstance, it was another stark reminder of the wide gulf between the Tigers and title contention.

As the Yankees were holding an introductory press conference to welcome $324 million man Gerrit Cole Wednesday, the Tigers announced they had signed 26-year-old Taiwanese starting pitcher Shao-Ching Chiang – a career minor-league recently released by the Indians.  

Chiang, a soft-tossing right-hander, had been with the Indians since 2011. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and spent the last two seasons at Triple-A Columbus. He has pitched in 664 minor-league games and posted a 1.25 WHIP.

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But his stuff, a variety of off-speed pitches, most of which have sinking action, played better against lower-level hitters. Last season at Columbus, he was 9-9 in 26 starts, with a 5.15 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP allowing 19 home runs in 131 innings.

He has a low strikeout (8.8 per nine) rate, but a high ground ball rate (56 percent).

Though he has been invited to Tigers' big-league camp in February, he is expected to provide depth in a rotation at Triple-A Toledo that will include the Tigers’ top pitching prospects Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and possibly Tarik Skubal.  

Twitter @cmccosky

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