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Veras gives Leyland comfort in setup role

Veras gives Leyland comfort in setup role


DETROIT -- Jose Veras can now claim a 20-save season on his Major League resume after recording the final four outs in the Tigers' 7-1 win over the Twins on Wednesday, but that's not where his value lies in Detroit. Instead, Veras' success in Detroit has come in the same setup role he filled for several teams before closing in Houston earlier this year.

In the process, Veras has given manager Jim Leyland a lot more comfort about filling Joaquin Benoit's old spot, the one he held down before becoming the closer.

"With Veras' addition, it's a relief for all of us, especially for me," Benoit said.

Veras was 19-for-22 in save opportunities for Houston when the Tigers acquired him on July 29. Not surprisingly on a last-place team, Veras did not have a lot of chances to pitch consecutive days. He also wasn't called upon for more than three outs very often.

That has changed in Detroit. His 11 appearances in just over three weeks as a Tiger mark the same workload over his final six weeks in Houston. That includes three sets of back-to-back appearances, two appearances of more than three outs, and three outings requiring more than 20 pitches.

Veras entered Wednesday's game with two outs in the eighth inning to protect a 4-1 lead for Benoit. Instead, Detroit's three-run eighth meant Benoit's services weren't needed. Veras stayed in for the ninth, striking out two batters to earn his first save as a Tiger.

"I think he's done very well for us," Leyland said. "I like him a lot. He's very quiet, very professional. He was a very nice addition for us."

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

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