DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland has never been a fan of expanding Major League rosters in September. It takes away the strategy of playing matchups, he has always said, when the other team has so many more players available to use.
But if Leyland was ever going to get out pom-poms for September callups, it would be this year.
The Tigers haven't filled out the roster anywhere near 40, but they're already taking advantage of the guys they've called up. Andy Dirks, a key part of the Tigers outfield until he was sent down in mid-August, started in right field Saturday afternoon against White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd. Carlos Guillen, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 1 so that the Tigers didn't have to make a move to make room, started at second base for the first time since his return.
Jacob Turner, who made his second Major League start Thursday for the Tigers after his September callup, began his throwing program on Saturday to be ready in case the Tigers need an extra starter down the stretch. Luis Marte was available for a strikeout situation out of the bullpen. Will Rhymes was available as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
Add it up, and the Tigers currently have 30 players on their roster. They'll have one more for sure on Monday, when Omir Santos is eligible to be recalled from Triple-A Toledo, and likely another later in the week once Danny Worth is eligible to return.
That doesn't mean Leyland suddenly loves the rule.
"I hope that they have a set number at some point, whatever they decide, whether it's 28, 30," Leyland said. "You have to use the system if it's there for you. I don't agree with it. I think you should only be able to bring up five guys, [or have] five guys active, 30 active every night. That's it. Bring up as many as you want, but you can only have 30 active every night. That way, it's fair for both sides.
"Like I said, you can't really get matchups this time of year. Guys can just counter a pinch-hitter. They've got extra players. We do, too. So you use the system, but I hope it's something that they change."
Leyland is a member of the Special Committee for On-Field Issues that Commissioner Bud Selig assembled two years ago. He did not indicate whether that was a topic of discussion.
"It doesn't make sense much to me to play one way for 5 1/2 months and then another way for the last month," Leyland said. "I've never really understood that, but that's OK. That's the way the system is. I respect the system. So we'll use it like everybody else does."