The Sioux City Explorers of the independent American Association announced that left-hander Blaine Hardy has signed a one-year contract. Hardy had just one inning of big league work last season, allowing two earned runs in one frame of work for the Brewers last August 3.
2021 was a comeback season for Hardy, as he was returning from a Tommy John surgery in March 2020. Hardy had signed a minors contract with the Twins just a few months prior to his surgery, but ended up never pitching for the organization. Hardy caught on with the Brewers on another minor league contract in the 2020-21 offseason and saw a good deal of work with Triple-A Nashville, posting a 2.63 ERA, 22.1% strikeout rate, and 10.4% walk rate over 68 1/3 innings.
It was a pretty solid set of numbers for the 35-year-old, though it didn’t result in any looks from MLB teams over the offseason. Hardy will now head to indy ball for what will be his 14th professional season, and first outside of affiliated baseball.
Apart from his one inning as a Brewer, Hardy’s other 289 2/3 innings in the majors all came with the Tigers. The southpaw posted a 3.73 ERA during his 2014-19 stint in Detroit, giving the Tigers some reliable innings out of the bullpen and also in the rotation in 2018 when the club gave Hardy 13 starts.