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Friday, April 4, 2014

Rotation adjustment forces Smyly back into the bullpen — unless rain changes it again

DETROIT — Drew Smyly’s answer was the same as it has been any time the Tigers needed him to change his job description: “Sure.”

With Thursday’s rainout adding to the confusion already in place with three days off in the next 11, Drew Smyly looks like he’s headed back to the bullpen for the next couple of weeks, leaving the Tigers with a four-man starting rotation.

Smyly has always been amenable when the Tigers have approached him in similar situations, his strongest reaction usually amounting to a shrug, and words to the effect of: “I just do what they tell me to.”

No different this time.

“It’s not ideal. I’m sure he was looking forward to his first start. It’s kind of out of our control when it rains,” manager Brad Ausmus said Friday morning. “We talked to him yesterday. He said he was fine with it. It’s not ideal. But he was fine with it. Very professional about it.”

Thursday’s rained out series finale against the Royals was pushed to a mutual off day on June 19.

It could get even messier, depending on how much weather impacts this weekend’s three-game series against the Orioles. Baltimore is not scheduled to return to Detroit this season, meaning officials will do the utmost to wait out weather and try to get something in. If it does get rained out Friday, it’ll probably be mean a double header on Saturday.

Regardless, the game will not be postponed as quickly as the decision was made on Thursday.

“Well it makes easier, when you don’t have to worry about losing your starter, especially Sanchie,” Ausmus said about Thursday’s starter Anibal Sanchez, who was pushed back a day by the quick hook, rather than the worst-case scenario of starting the game, then calling it off. “You know, we still have a little bit of that concern, although not as much today.”

As of Thursday, the Tigers had three rotation scenarios, based on what happened to Friday’s game. One had Smyly going BACK into the rotation, if Friday got rained out, forcing a doubleheader Saturday.

In that event, Sanchez and Rick Porcello would start Saturday’s twinbill, with Justin Verlander starting Sunday.


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