Rochester, MN – Former Thunder Bay Border Cat Blaine Hardy made his Major League debut for the Detroit Tigers on Monday, June 16. Hardy is the 120th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level and the third Border Cat.
Hardy, who played collegiately at Lewis-Clark State College, played for the Thunder Bay Border Cats in 2008, and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 22nd round of the 2008 MLB draft.
While with the Border Cats, Hardy pitched in one game and went 7 innings allowing 6 hits and no runs for the win.
Hardy began his minor league career in 2008 with Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League. Over 21 games with the Chukars he had a 1-0 record with a 4.15 ERA. Hardy also struck out 34 batters in 34.2 innings pitched.
In 2009 Hardy was promoted and spent the entire season in the Lo A Midwest League with the Burlington Bees. Over 36 appearances Hardy had a 4-4 record with a 2.05 ERA. He also struck out 94 batters in 92.1 innings pitched.
The 2010 season saw hardy pitch in the AA Texas League with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and in AAA with the Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League. Hardy went a combined 4-4 with a 2.71 ERA between the two teams.
In 2011 Hardy once again spent time between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. He appeared in 44 games and went 4-4 with a 3.93 ERA. He also struck out 64 batters in 68.2 innings pitched.
The 2012 season saw Hardy again in Omaha and Northwest Arkansas. He pitched in 40 games and went 4-3 with a 3.46 ERA.
Prior to the 2013 season Hardy was traded to the Detroit Tigers. In his first year with the Tigers Hardy started the year in the AA Eastern League with the Erie SeaWolves. After 16 appearances with the SeaWolves where he went 2-2 with a 1.63 ERA he was promoted to AAA with the Toledo Mud Hens in the International League. While with Toledo he posted a 1.69 ERA in 14 games. He also struck out 53 batters in 64 innings pitched.
Hardy started the 2014 season in Toledo and had appeared in 20 games before being called up by the Tigers on Sunday, June 15. He was 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA and had struck out 53 batters in 47 innings pitched.
In his Major League debut, versus the Kansas City Royals, Hardy entered the game in relief of former Waterloo Buck Evan Reed in the 7th inning. Hardy struck out the first batter he faced as Norichika Aoki went down swinging. He then struck out Omar Infante before retiring Eric Hosmer on a ground out to first. Hardy came back out for the 8th inning and allowed one hit but no runs. The final line for Hardy in his Major League debut was 2.0 innings pitched with one hit allowed along with one walk. He also struck out two batters.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 20-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.
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