When the Tigers began spring training in February, manager Jim Leyland said he was a believer in closers, and had no interest in entering the 2013 season with a committee approach to the ninth-inning role.
On Thursday, that's exactly the predicament the Tigers face after demoting hard-throwing right-hander Bruce Rondon to Triple-A Toledo.
"There'll be a guy out there in the ninth to close games," general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We might not have a guy anointed."
Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit are expected to be Leyland's primary options in a mix-and-match closer situation.
Jose Valverde, an unsigned free agent, was the Tigers' closer last season but he's not on the team's radar, Leyland said.
Rondon will be the closer at Toledo, where the Tigers want him to develop consistency.
"He has thrown the ball very well at times this spring. But we felt he could benefit from more development time," Dombrowski said.