DETROIT -- The Tigers had been stretching out Al Alburquerque for two-inning relief appearances before Jose Veras joined the bullpen. Now that Veras is on board, Alburquerque has a chance to go back to the versatile situational role that he filled for much of his previous two years in Detroit.
"I think you can start looking for Alburquerque around the sixth inning," manager Jim Leyland said Friday.
That doesn't mean Alburquerque will simply be a middle reliever, Leyland cautioned. It means that with Veras covering the seventh and eighth, Alburquerque's situations could come everywhere from the sixth to the eighth innings.
That's more the role Alburquerque filled in the past. He was a valuable strikeout specialist when he came up in 2011, then filled much the same role down the stretch last year while Octavio Dotel handled right-handed setup. Only when Dotel went on the disabled list in April did the Tigers have to stretch out Alburquerque for setup duty.
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.Less