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Tigers option Anibal Sanchez to Triple-A

Starter turned reliever still struggling, forcing Detroit to call up Warwick Saupold to fill his place.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have sent down right-handed pitcher Anibal Sancez to Triple-A Toledo and called up right-hander Warwick Saupold to fill his place, the team announced.

Sanchez has appeared in 11 games this season as a reliever, but has struggled mightily. The 33-year-old has a 9.00 ERA after allowing 21 earned runs in as many innings and has a 2.05 WHIP.

Sanchez is in the final year of a five-year, $80-million deal. He's making $16.8 million this season.

After earning notoriety with the Marlins from 2006-12, Sanchez led the American League in ERA at 2.57 in 2013. He also finished fourth in the AL Cy Young voting while going 14-8.

After having a solid 8-5 season in 2014 in which he had a 3.43 ERA, Sanchez started to get hit a ton, as he went 10-10 with a 4.99 ERA and allowed an MLB-most 29 home runs in 2015. Then last year, he went 7-13 and his ERA ballooned to 5.87, making the Tigers have to remove him from the rotation and put him in the bullpen.

In spring training this season, Sanchez lost the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation to Matt Boyd. Sanchez went 2-1 with a 4.56 ERA in three starts and seven appearances, while Boyd put together a 3-1 mark with a 2.10 ERA in six starts and seven appearances.

Now that Sanchez is in the minors, the Tigers will try to see if Saupold can provide them solid innings in long relief. The 27-year-old right-hander didn’t have too much success earlier in the year, as he posted a 6.23 ERA in two appearances after giving up three homers against the Rays on April 20. Since that game, Saupold has made five starts for Toledo, going 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA.