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Leyland not worried how break will affect pitchers

Leyland not worried how break will affect pitchers

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Leyland not worried how break will affect pitchers

MIAMI -- Manager Jim Leyland isn't worried about the impact the long break between the Tigers clinching the division and the opening game of the American League Division Series will have on his starting pitchers. On the contrary, he dropped a pretty strong hint that he could take advantage of the break to put some of his starting pitchers to work in the bullpen, and not just fifth starter-turned-reliever Rick Porcello.

"Without tipping my hand too much, I think there's a strong possibility that you could possibly some of our starting pitchers pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason," Leyland said.

He didn't go into any more detail, but the fact that he wants to get Doug Fister an inning in relief in Sunday's regular-season finale might have been a hint. If Fister starts a possible Game 4, as expected, he won't be starting until a week from Tuesday after making his final regular-season start last Tuesday.

Bullpen depth could be a boost for the Tigers if Bruce Rondon and Phil Coke aren't available because of injuries to their elbow and forearm, respectively.

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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