Detroit Tigers call up relief pitcher Chad Bell to fill Mikie Mahtook's roster spot

Tigers send down Mikie Mahtook for Chad Bell

Chad Bell #64 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Comerica Park on September 14, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

DETROIT – The biggest problem for the Detroit Tigers this season has been scoring runs, but they have called up reliever Chad Bell as a corresponding move to sending down outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was knocked out by a line drive in the first inning of Wednesday's game in Cleveland, forcing the bullpen to get the final 22 outs. That's likely why the Tigers felt they needed more pitching for the series finale against the Indians.

Bell, who was scheduled to start Thursday for the Toledo Mud Hens, has made one appearance in Triple-A this season, allowing one run on two hits over 3.1 innings. He struck out five batters in the outing.

The 29-year-old lefty made 28 appearances for the Tigers last season, allowing 48 earned runs in 62.1 innings. Bell gave up 81 hits and 31 walks while striking out 57 batters.

New manager Ron Gardenhire needed more help in the bullpen, but the Tigers certainly have holes to fill on offense. The team has scored a total of two runs in the last four games.

Tigers' No. 11 prospect Mike Gerber is off to another hot start in Triple-A. Gerber has hit a pair of home runs and owns a 1.096 OPS through five games after showing good power last year. At 25 years old, Gerber doesn't do the Tigers much good in the minor leagues.

If he continues to hit, it's reasonable to believe Gerber will be called up to Detroit sometime soon.

Mahtook was sent down Wednesday after starting the season four for 31 with 10 strikeouts and three walks. His .361 OPS made it difficult for Gardenhire to get him into the everyday lineup.

The Tigers will now have 12 offensive players and 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster.

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