DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland tried stretching out Al Alburquerque to a multi-inning reliever in April with mixed results. Though Alburquerque tossed five scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts over a three-game stretch on the West Coast, his struggles with walks after that eventually led him to Triple-A Toledo.
When the Tigers finally brought Alburquerque back last month, Leyland made it clear they saw him as a one-inning reliever. After an up-and-down July, however, Leyland is open to the possibility of stretching out the high-strikeout, lower-command right-hander again.
"If everything was perfect, I think you'd go two," Leyland said. "You'd like to see that. But that all depends on the results you get."
On Saturday, Leyland used a 10-0 cushion on the Phillies to give Alburquerque a second inning with good results.
"If you're only going to get one real good [inning] and he doesn't handle the second inning very good, then you don't do it," Leyland said. "But I would like for him to be able to pitch two innings."
Leyland wasn't sure if Alburquerque's struggles while stretching out were due to him sitting down and getting back up between innings. There have been times when his second inning looked like a completely different game than the first.
Opponents entered Sunday having gone 24-for-95 (.253) with 18 walks and 38 strikeouts in Alburquerque's first inning of work. Beyond that, they're 1-for-13 with seven walks, six strikeouts and a hit batter.
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.