The Tigers announced that they have outrighted the contract of minor league infielder Francisco Martinez off the 40-man roster in order to clear a spot for right-hander Corey Knebel, whose contract has officially been selected from Triple-A Toledo (Twitter link).
Martinez, 23, has batted .228/.282/.298 for Double-A Erie this season. The Venezuelan infielder/outfielder was originally signed by the Tigers but found himself traded to Seattle alongside Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin in the trade that sent Doug Fister and David Pauley to the Tigers. Detroit re-acquired Martinez in exchange for a player to be named later last summer.
Knebel, 22, was the 39th overall pick in last year’s draft and will make his big league debut less than 12 months after being selected. The University of Texas alum has utterly dominated the minor leagues in a relief role to this point, registering a 0.90 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 50 innings across three levels. Baseball America ranked the power right-hander — whose fastball can touch 98 mph — sixth among Tigers prospects heading into the season.