Leyland making an effort to give Smyly rest

Leyland making an effort to give Smyly rest

Leyland making an effort to give Smyly rest

DETROIT -- After averaging about 10 appearances out of the bullpen each month this season, left-hander Drew Smyly has only been called upon three times in September for a total of two innings.

Manager Jim Leyland said he's made an effort to give Smyly some rest. It is the left-hander's first full year as a reliever.

"We wanted to save him down the stretch for some real big situations, and we really haven't had those come up in a lot of cases," Leyland said. "Now recently, the last few days, we have and we've used him, obviously. He'd never pitched that much out of the bullpen, so we thought we should back off him a little bit."

Smyly is fifth among American League relievers with 71 innings pitched this year. With two outs in the seventh inning on Saturday, Leyland chose to bring in left-hander Jose Alvarez instead of Smyly.

"[Smyly] pitched a couple days in a row, and we were behind in the game," Leyland said. "I didn't really want to put him into the game because it would have been three [games] in a row -- then if we needed him [on Sunday], we wouldn't have had him."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.