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Prospect Crosby to compete for bullpen spot

Prospect Crosby to compete for bullpen spot

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Casey Crosby worked his way back from Tommy John surgery four years ago, Tigers officials faced questions about whether his best fit was as a starter or reliever. After four seasons starting, the conversion appears to be on.

If Crosby, No. 10 on the club's Top 20 Prospects, according to MLB.com, is going to make the Tigers roster, it's going to be as a reliever. With insurance starters in place, his future lies in the bullpen.

"When he comes in to Spring Training, our first look will be at him in the bullpen," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We can always switch him back if we think it's best, but we think right now he's in a spot where he's developed some. A lot of our people think he's cut out for a bullpen role, and so that's how we'll bring him in."

Crosby, a fifth-round pick in the same 2007 Draft as fellow high schooler Rick Porcello, has had back-to-back seasons at Triple-A Toledo, the most recent one limited to 13 starts and 57 2/3 innings by injury. He made three spot starts in 2012, but gave way to Minor League free agent Jose Alvarez as the top insurance starter.

The 25-year-old is a hard-throwing lefty with deception when he commands his fastball. If he makes the roster, he'd give the Tigers the potential for three lefty relievers in a seven-man bullpen.

Dombrowski said Crosby has always been open to whatever role the Tigers have for him.

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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