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Ausmus continues to size up bullpen options

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JUPITER, Fla. -- The Tigers received another solid inning of relief from Ian Krol on Sunday. The club sent a procession of lefty relievers to the mound on Monday against the Cardinals with solid results, from Blaine Hardy to Casey Crosby and then Kyle Lobstein. They'll have Phil Coke on schedule to pitch back in Lakeland on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

However, manager Brad Ausmus cautioned on Monday that he's not married to the idea of a two-lefty bullpen.

"I do think it helps. I think it's a benefit," Ausmus said. "But you have to put your best team and your best bullpen in the stadium when the season starts."

Crosby, who missed the early Spring Training action with tendinitis in his forearm, made his spring debut with two-thirds of an inning on Monday, walking one and striking out one. His fastball ranged from 89 to 91 mph on the ballpark radar gun, while he mixed his curveball with a changeup that has improved from last year.

"I felt comfortable," Crosby said. "It was good to get back out there finally. Obviously, I kind of joined the party late, but it feels good out there."

The fact that Crosby is competing as a reliever now, rather than a starter like he was in past springs, gives him a better chance of catching up to his counterparts. It's not a major adjustment for him.

"I feel a lot more comfortable doing the short-inning stuff," Crosby said, "not really thinking, more just going. Just go pitch and let it go. That's what I'm most comfortable doing, I feel like."

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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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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