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Rainout helps Tigers' overworked bullpen

The SportsXchange

A rainout didn't do Duane Below any favors, but it sure shored up the Detroit Tigers' bullpen.

The washout of Monday night's Kansas City-Detroit game meant manager Jim Leyland could skip Below's scheduled emergency start and return him to the bullpen.

Rick Porcello will start Tuesday as scheduled, with Justin Verlander going Wednesday. Detroit has a day off Thursday, and Leyland will send rookie Drew Smyly out Friday night and Max Scherzer on Sunday.

If Doug Fister passes his rehab-start test on Wednesday, he will drop into the rotation next Monday in Seattle, followed by Porcello and Verlander.

The failure of Detroit's starters to get into the seventh inning is putting strain on the bullpen, which Below will help alleviate.

Leyland looked at all his other options but finally decided to start Below after Adam Wilk was sent to the minors following three poor starts in a row. Wilk was serving as Fister's replacement.

Below is unscored upon in his five relief appearances this season, including a six-inning outing April 21 that raised his profile.

Collin Balester has pitched well in long relief, but Leyland has been unable to break in rookies Luke Putkonen and Brayan Villarreal in lower-pressure situations due to the bullpen having to pitch more innings than he likes.

If Porcello gets thumped Tuesday, Below will be fresh and ready to come in early.
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