Smyly slated for role in Tigers' bullpen

Smyly slated for role in Tigers' bullpen

DETROIT -- The widely-held assumption about Drew Smyly upon the Tigers' decision to start him in place of injured Doug Fister was that he would give way to a reliever after his start so that the Tigers could return to a full relief corps.

As it turns out, Smyly is the reliever.

"If Fister's ready [to start Friday], then Smyly can fall into the bullpen as a long man," Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said. "That's pretty simple."

Smyly has one relief appearance in his two-year professional career, a bullpen cameo at the tail end of last season at Double-A Erie. He does not expect it to be a major adjustment in the big leagues, though he'll have to get a feel for how much throwing he'll need to get warmed up in the bullpen.

"If they want me to be there and think that I can help the team down there, that's a point of pride in my eyes," said Smyly, who allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings with six strikeouts against the Angels on Saturday.