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Smyly showing off versatility in bullpen

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ARLINGTON -- If everything works out, Drew Smyly will be a reliable member of the Tigers' rotation soon. But for now, he's helping them every way he can out of the bullpen.

Smyly retired both batters he faced in the seventh inning of Friday's 2-1 win over the Rangers, needing 12 pitches to record those two outs. The next night, Smyly was called on to stop the bleeding after Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez gave up six runs in just 2 2/3 innings. Smyly allowed one run on two hits in 3 1/3 innings, throwing 33 of his 55 pitches for strikes.

"He's answered the bell no matter what we've done with him," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been kind of the mystery of the bullpen because he's done so many good things, no matter where you put him. He's a jewel. He's going to be a good starting Major League pitcher at some point."

The Tigers' seconnd-round choice in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Smyly has gone 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 15 outings, striking out 29 and walking only seven in 28 innings. He won't be available for Sunday's series finale against the Rangers and, after the Tigers get an off-day Monday, may not be available for Tuesday's series opener against the Indians.

"I'm just trying to get innings, trying to get experience and get better," Smyly said. "I've been a starter my whole life, so I'm used to throwing 100 pitches. Whatever [Leyland] needs me to do, I just try to do the job."

Christian Corona is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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