Leyland said that Smyly is going to be right around 100 pitches in every outing this year, and he's already looking into an innings limit for the season.
"He's just a baby, so I'm going to have to watch that," Leyland said. "I'm putting a plan together, almost as we speak, on when to back him off. We're looking at the All-Star break and how many days [we have]. I want to make sure I don't do anything crazy and abuse him."
The skipper didn't have that specific innings number Saturday, but said Smyly will likely miss a start at some point.
"I don't know when that'll happen," he said. "I'm going to sit down and talk with [president/general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] about that, let him have a little breather. We're just getting started. This is a grueling situation for a kid that hasn't pitched much."
Smyly earned the fifth rotation spot out of Spring Training. Leyland said that had it been a guy with experience like Andy Oliver, there would be no limit. But with Smyly having never thrown more than 126 innings -- he did so pitching in the Minors last season -- he'll take caution.
Smyly's 1.61 ERA is tied for the American League lead with Angels pitcher Jered Weaver. He fired six innings Friday night, allowing two runs, in the Tigers' 5-4 walk-off victory over the White Sox. He didn't factor into the decision for the fourth time in five starts and he's racked up 28 innings.