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Leyland: 'Sanchez was the guy to pitch to Phegley'

Leyland: 'Sanchez was the guy to pitch to Phegley'

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DETROIT -- The day Anibal Sanchez returned from the disabled list last weekend in Cleveland, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said his two starts before the All-Star break would be a build-up process to get him back into full game shape for the second half after missing a few weeks with a right shoulder strain.

That did not make Leyland's decision on when to pull Sanchez anywhere near automatic in Thursday's loss to the White Sox. The conversation Leyland had with Sanchez on his way back to the dugout following the fifth inning made that clear.

"He asked if I felt good," Sanchez said. "I felt good."

With that, Sanchez went out for the sixth inning with 83 pitches thrown. He threw 19 in the sixth, the last of them sent out by Josh Phegley for a go-ahead grand slam.

On Friday, Leyland defended his decision to stick with Sanchez as the inning went on.

"I thought Sanchez was the guy to pitch to Phegley, or else I would've taken him out," Leyland said.

Sanchez had given up a run on five hits going into the sixth. He finished allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

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

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