Marte to pitch in middle innings

Marte to pitch in middle innings

MINNEAPOLIS -- It appears the Tigers bullpen is getting healthy again, with the addition of Luis Marte, who was activated from the disabled list prior to the series opener with the Twins.

Marte has not seen big league action yet, as he injured his left hamstring in his final Spring Training appearance. If not for the injury, Marte would've been a key factor in the bullpen. Now that he is ready to return, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has to figure out how to use him.

"You are probably going to see him in the middle, maybe the fourth inning, the fifth inning. We are pretty well covered. I may use him a little later if we are behind. He's more of a long [reliever] because he's got an assortment of pitches," Leyland said.

Leyland said the key for Marte to be successful is to keep himself sharp by throwing bullpen sessions in between outings, because long relievers can go extended stints without pitching if the starting rotation does its job.

"I hope we have that problem all year, worrying about getting the long men time, that's a good problem to have," Leyland said.

Marte made four appearances for the Tigers last September, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings of work. Last season at Double-A Erie, he struck out 68 batters in just 53 innings of work, and had an ERA of 1.70.