KANSAS CITY -- Though an official decision hasn't been made about whether Doug Fister will make his scheduled start on Friday, the right-hander is confident he'll pitch.
Fister threw a bullpen session on Tuesday as the Tigers prepared to open a series against the Royals. He's slated to pitch on Friday in the opener of an important series against the White Sox, but after skipping his last start with a groin injury, things are a bit up in the air.
"I think it's a kind of thing where I'll go home tonight and sleep on it, see how it feels tomorrow and make a decision tomorrow," Fister said.
Fister said he feels good and that he was happy with his bullpen session.
If Fister can't go, however, the task will fall to Drew Smyly, who filled in for Fister in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Angels. Smyly gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits in six innings. Manager Jim Leyland called him a safety valve, and even if he's not needed on Friday, he'll pitch in a bullpen role.
"We're lucky to have that guy in the wings," Leyland said. "He's done a good job up here. Particularly with the amount of professional experience he has, he's done very well. It's nice to have that safety valve, it'd be nice to have him in the bullpen."
"Just being here and being able to help the team out in anyway that they see me doing that, I'm all for it," Smyly said. "I'm just happy to be here -- starting or out of the bullpen -- I think I can help either way. It's better than being at Triple-A."
The lefty has made 16 starts for the Tigers this season, with Saturday's being his first since July 6. In two seasons in the Minor Leagues, Smyly has made just one relief appearance -- last season with Double-A Erie.
"I don't think it'll be too hard of a transition, just got to get your arm ready a little bit faster, get your mindset going a little better. My arm feels good. I'm looking forward to it," Smyly said.