DETROIT -- Drew Smyly moved into the bullpen at the end of Spring Training to stay in the big leagues as a long-relief specialist. It was a way to keep his arm in shape if he ever needed to return to the rotation.
Now Smyly is making another move in the bullpen, this time toward late innings because of his ability to get hitters out from both sides of the plate. Manager Jim Leyland has been pairing Smyly with Phil Coke in late innings to shake lineups filled with hitters from both sides of the plate.
With four relievers under the age of 27, Leyland is hoping to see more consistency.
"It's not like we have an established guy down there like a [Octavio] Dotel that has been through the wars and you pretty much know what you are going to get," Leyland said. "With kids and grandkids, we don't know."
Smyly is the only reliever with more than six innings on the mound to have an ERA of under 3.00 against hitters from both sides of the plate. He has thrived in the bullpen, dropping his ERA of 4.30 against right-handed hitters last year as a starter to 2.84 this season. He has held right-handed hitters to a .260 batting average, and left-handed hitters have fared much worse, mustering only a .100 batting average against him.
"That's why I keep stressing that a lefty has to get a righty out up here," Leyland said, "and a righty has to get a lefty out. If they can't, that makes it difficult."
Although Coke works to cut down the .343 batting average that right-handed hitters have against him, Leyland says he is more than just a lefty-lefty specialist.
"Cokey should be," Leyland said, "because he has the changeup and plenty enough fastball with a breaking ball to get a right-hander out."
Running still a problem for recovering Jackson
DETROIT -- Austin Jackson has resumed taking batting practice and shagging fly balls in center field, but he's not close enough yet on his running to make a Minor League rehab assignment.
Jackson, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 12 with a pulled left hamstring, felt soreness after running the bases at 80 percent speed on Friday in Baltimore. He hasn't run the bases since, and he didn't do anything on the Tigers' off-day on Monday, which he said helped ease the soreness.
The plan, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said on Tuesday, is for Jackson to start running the bases again sometime this week.
Jackson will need at least a few games of a rehab assignment to get his timing back at the plate and see fly balls in game situations before rejoining the Tigers. Add the steps together, and a return seems unlikely until next week, at the earliest.
With Jackson out, Avisail Garcia is getting the bulk of the starts in center field.
"Garcia's been doing well. We've been playing him ahead of [Don] Kelly a little bit," Leyland said on Monday, "because he's accounted for himself OK and Donnie hasn't hit much."
Reliever Marte has season-ending surgery
DETROIT -- If the Tigers end up needing to call up more relief help, they won't have Luis Marte as an option, as the right-hander is out for the season after undergoing surgery to clean up his right shoulder.
The 26-year-old Marte spent parts of the last two seasons in Detroit and spent much of Spring Training in camp with the Tigers before returning to Triple-A Toledo. He pitched in just three April games for the Mud Hens, however, before being shut down.
After further examination, doctors recommended surgery to clean up debris around his right labrum rather than a more serious reconstruction. Dr. Koco Eaton performed the surgery last week in Florida.
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said that Marte will rehab for about three months before he begins a throwing program. That effectively takes him out of action for the rest of the Minor League season.
Berry claimed off waivers by Royals
DETROIT -- The Tigers could end up seeing speedy outfielder Quintin Berry again this season, but it won't be in a Detroit uniform, as the Royals claimed him off waivers on Tuesday and assigned him to Triple-A Omaha.
The Tigers designated Berry for assignment on Sunday to make room for Minor League third baseman Francisco Martinez, whom they reacquired from Seattle via trade. Berry was batting .168 with the Mud Hens, including .106 in May.
The Royals' claim ends Berry's Tigers tenure, which began with a surprising stint as an injury replacement and effectively closed with him being one of the final cuts out of Spring Training. He never regained his bat after the move.
"It didn't work out," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "If he'd have been right-handed and played first base or second base or third base, he would have probably been on the team. That's just the way it was. The guy, periodically last year, gave us a lot of spark."
Leyland has no idea whether Berry carried the disappointment of the cut with him to the Minors, but he believes the fresh start could do him some good.
"I'm happy for him. This is a great opportunity for him, and we certainly wish him the best," Leyland said. "I know he was struggling at Toledo."
Miggy surprised by outpouring of All-Star love
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera is a big enough star that he was recognized by reporters during Game 7 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals on his off-day back home in Miami. Still, even he is surprised by the outpouring of votes for him in All-Star Game balloting.
"That's great," Cabrera said. " Keep voting."
That said, he's trying to keep his focus on Tigers games for now. It's similar to the way he's handling Triple Crown talk these days.
"If we win 95, 98 games, that's great to me," he said.
Cabrera leads all American League players with more than 1.5 million votes, twice as much as his nearest competitor at third base.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, fans must be logged into an MLB.com account when submitting any online ballot. To obtain an MLB.com account, visit mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.