Villarreal dominating since latest promotion

Villarreal dominating since latest promotion

BOSTON -- Brayan Villarreal had Wednesday to recover after throwing 1 2/3 innings of relief Tuesday night, with a 38-minute rain delay in between. Whenever he pitches, opponents will be trying to put a ball in play against him for the first time this week.

All five of Villarreal's outs against the Red Sox on Tuesday night came by strikeout. The only baserunner he allowed reached on a walk. The outing continued a solid stretch for him since returning from Triple-A Toledo on April 26.

The 25-year-old right-hander has allowed an unearned run on three hits over 7 1/3 innings in his latest stint as a Tiger. Thirteen of his 22 outs have come by strikeout, with just two walks.

It's the type of pitching that prompted manager Jim Leyland to compare Villarreal's potential to high-strikeout reliever Al Alburquerque last week. Villarreal has a ways to go to reach that, and Leyland himself said the righty teetered towards falling into old command problems at one point Tuesday. Lately, though, pitching coach Jeff Jones has kept him in control.

"He's done well," Leyland said. "He has teetered a couple times, but he's caught himself. In the past, he hasn't been able to do that. He's kind of wavered a couple times, but he has gotten over that all the time. So far, he's been very impressive. He wings it pretty good."