Duane Below

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Duane Arthur Below

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Biographical information[edit]

Pitcher Duane Below was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 19th round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Tom Osowski and began his pro career with the GCL Tigers, going 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in 15 outings before being promoted to the Oneonta Tigers for two late-season starts.


With the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2007, he went 13-5 with a 2.97 ERA, while pacing the Midwest League in wins (tied with David Herndon and Rafael Gonzalez) and strikeouts (160). He was also 4th in the MWL in ERA. He averaged 9.89 K per 9 innings to finish second among the MWL's starting pitchers behind Clayton Kershaw. He also won both of his starts in the postseason that year, recording 17 strikeouts in the process, and was named the Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and West Michigan's Pitcher of the Year. Below led all Detroit farmhands in both strikeouts and opponent average (.236). He failed to make the MWL All-Star team as Kershaw was the southpaw chosen.

He spent the following summer with the Lakeland Tigers and went 8-7 with a 4.46 ERA in 27 games, while leading the Florida State League with 126 strikeouts. He was also third in the loop with 70 walks and tied Jonah Nickerson for the most starts (26). He again had the best K rate of any of his league's starting pitchers. He led all Tigers farmhands in walks while tying Jon Kibler and Lauren Gagnier for the most strikeouts.

He split 2009 between Lakeland and the Erie Sea Wolves, going 2-4 with a 2.70 ERA and 45 strikeouts between the two clubs. With Erie again in 2010, he went 7-12 with a 4.93 ERA in 28 starts. He started 2011 much sharper in his AAA debut with the Toledo Mud Hens at 9-4, 3.13, punching his ticket to the majors to replace Adam Wilk.

In his big league debut, on July 20, 2011, Below turned in a solid outing in a starting assignment against the Oakland A's. He began by retiring Coco Crisp on a grounder, then retired the next five batters. In the third, he allowed three hits and a walk and threw a wild pitch; he was tagged for two unearned runs thanks to a Carlos Guillen error. With a 2-2 tie to open the 6th, he served up Hideki Matsui's 500th home run as a pro; it was the only earned run given up by the rookie hurler that day. He was yanked in favor of Lester Oliveros. Detroit wound up with a 7-5 loss and Below got a no-decision. He made 14 appearances for the Tigers until the end of the season, but only one more start, finishing 0-2, 4.34. He struck out 14 and walked 11 in 29 innings. He made the Tigers' staff as a long reliever out of spring training in 2012; he made his first appearance on April 7th, when Doug Fister had to be removed from a start against the Boston Red Sox with a 5-0 lead in the 4th because of a rib injury. Duane pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first major league win. It took him barely 24 hours to earn win number 2. On April 8th, he relieved Joaquin Benoit with two outs in the 11th inning after Benoit had given up a pair of runs. Below struck out Adrian Gonzalez after a long battle, then inherited the win when the Tigers staged an epic comeback with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame to win the game, 13-12.

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