Leyland up front about mixing, matching outfielders

Leyland up front about mixing, matching outfielders

DETROIT -- Now that Jeff Baker is in the Tigers' outfield fold, manager Jim Leyland has the roster mix he wanted. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski did his part with Detroit's Trade Deadline dealings. Now it's Leyland's turn to mix and match.

He's already preparing his outfielders for that.

"We have a chance right now to have everybody involved," Leyland said. "Everybody has a chance to be a hero. But everybody's got to buy in."

With that in mind, Leyland said he met with all of his outfielders earlier this week and tried to let them know his plans.

"I told them, 'I can play four of six every day, but I can't play you all every day,'" he said. "I explained it to them so everybody knows their situation and everybody knows they might not be in the lineup every day, with the exception of [Austin] Jackson.

"Everybody knows pretty much what they're going to be doing, and you just ask them to be on board and be patient with it, because I'm happy with all the outfielders. But I can only play three in the outfield and one DH. That's four; we got six. That's fun, but it also keeps people fresh."

That holds especially true against most right-handed starters, since they have three left-handed hitters in Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks and Quintin Berry. Leyland said that he'll start Berry on Thursday against New York's Hiroki Kuroda. It'll be Berry's first start in five days.

"When you have a dilemma, and it's a good dilemma, you meet it head-on," Leyland said.