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Veras ready to fill whatever role Tigers need

Veras ready to fill whatever role Tigers need


DETROIT -- Eight years into his Major League career, Jose Veras is now a little more than halfway to Octavio Dotel's Major League record for franchises played for (13). He knows how to handle the challenge of changing clubhouses in midseason.

"I've handled it a little bit, because it's happened before," Veras said Tuesday. "And now that I'm here, I have to focus to keep doing my job. That's what I always think: No matter what uniform I've got on, I've got a job to do."

It's a different job than the one Veras had in Houston. After several years in middle relief, the Astros gave him his first chance at closing, and he handled it well. With the Tigers, he's back to his old role.

"We did not acquire him to be our closer, nor we did we acquire him to be our eighth-inning guy," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said, "because we feel comfortable with [Joaquin] Benoit and [Drew] Smyly."

That won't be an adjustment for Veras.

"I don't think about a spot. I don't mind," he said. "I just focus to get my job, to get my three [outs]. No matter what situation, I have to do what I have to do, take care of that part, and let the other guys take care of the rest. I was a setup man for five years, and then this was my first time as a closer. And then I came here and I said I'm available in any moment you need me."

The big adjustment might be the clubhouse. When Veras talked about his Astros teammates, he talked about it like a family, even though this was his only year there. He knows a handful of players in his new clubhouse. Ramon Santiago, for one, is his neighbor in the Dominican Republic. Nonetheless, it's a different situation.

"It's a lot of good guys out there, good young team, good young players," Veras said of the Astros. "I feel like shocked in the first second [learning about the trade], and then I said God takes care of that part. He put me in the position where he thinks it's best for me. He brought me here to a winning team. I've been blessed with that.

"I've been blessed because I like to compete, I like to do things for a team that maybe can get to the World Series. That's our dream. That's our goal as baseball players."

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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