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Leyland mindful of resting Hunter amid strong start

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DETROIT -- No one has had as many multi-hit games to begin his Tigers tenure as Torii Hunter, which makes it more surprising how often Hunter has sat since his season began.

But then, few have arrived in Detroit with a regular role at Hunter's age of 37. That's what manager Jim Leyland admitted he has in mind when he watches his playing time.

"I have to watch him," Leyland said, "but he's really doing well. And we did have back-to-back days off [with the rainout Tuesday], so that helps. But I have to watch him. It's not easy in the cold weather for anybody, let alone one of our elder statesmen. I have to watch him and not get greedy."

Thus, Leyland expects to give Hunter a day off early next week, either Monday or Tuesday night against the Twins. Lefty Scott Diamond is Minnesota's scheduled starter Wednesday afternoon, so Hunter won't sit then.

Hunter's three-hit performance Friday was his 13th multi-hit effort in Detroit's first 21 games, the most for any Tigers player to begin his Detroit stint since at least 1916.

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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