{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Benoit likes set up in Tigers' bullpen

|
Benoit likes set up in Tigers' bullpen play video for Benoit likes set up in Tigers' bullpen

DETROIT -- Joaquin Benoit said it in Spring Training, and he said it again when the season opened: A bullpen by committee is very difficult to maintain, because it leaves a lot of uncertainty for relievers and how and when to prepare.

The restoration of certainty in the Tigers' bullpen roles meant the removal of Joaquin Benoit from the closer's job. Still, he wasn't complaining about the return of Jose Valverde.

"It makes it easy on me," Benoit said, "and hopefully it makes it easy on everybody else."

With bullpen by committee, a leadoff man on base usually meant two or more relievers in an inning. With role-based relief, Benoit said, it's easier.

Benoit's time as the preferred closer lasted about two weeks, but he only got one save out of it, having finished the 14-inning win in Seattle last Wednesday, when Justin Smoak was thrown out at home plate. In that sense, it isn't much of an adjustment for him at all.

"There was one game to close," he said. "Even when Papa lost two weeks [last year], there wasn't a save opportunity those two weeks."

Manager Jim Leyland gave every indication that with a closer set now, the previous roles will be restored. Thus, Benoit should be back in the eighth-inning setup role he has manned since 2011 and handled twice in the season-opening series at Minnesota for matchups before being slotted more towards the ninth.

With Phil Coke and Darin Downs slotting into more traditional left-handed roles in occasion, and Bruce Rondon and Drew Smyly available for middle relief, Benoit likes the mix.

"When you have a bullpen like that, you can smile," Leyland said.

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.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español