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Alburquerque fooling hitters with reworked slider

SEATTLE -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland summed up Al Alburquerque's outing Tuesday night as best as he could. He needed very few words.

"Alburquerque was the best I've seen him this year," Leyland said.

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For somebody who was overpowering hitters for the first half of Spring Training, that's saying something.

Alburquerque struck out two batters on sliders, sandwiched in between a Franklin Gutierrez groundout, for a perfect eighth inning. It wasn't just nasty, it was efficient.

His recent success wasn't the result of a mechanical overhaul, but a tweak that Alburquerque made in his delivery to better hide his slider. He also said he had a sharper slider going than he had last week, when hitters were making good contact against it.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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