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05/27/08 10:30 PM ET

Leyland impressed by Dolsi's poise

Young reliever takes loss Monday but showed something

ANAHEIM -- No, Freddy Dolsi isn't afraid. He might not always look ready for the big leagues, but he isn't afraid.

When the Tigers reliever talked Tuesday afternoon about his showdown with All-Star slugger Vladimir Guerrero on Monday night, he did so with a smile on his face. It wasn't one of awe, but of confidence.

"When I come in from the bullpen, I'm doing my job and [focusing on] 1-2-3, first-pitch strike, second-pitch strike or ground ball," Dolsi said.

When he came in for the 10th inning Monday, however, he was facing the most dangerous part of the Angels order -- Gary Matthews Jr., Guerrero and Torii Hunter. A first-pitch comebacker from Matthews set up the showdown with Guerrero once Dolsi gathered himself.

"Vladimir is a good hitter," Dolsi said of his fellow Dominican. "I want to throw a strike or [break a pitch] out for him."

Dolsi did that with a purpose, hammering Guerrero early with inside fastballs to put him in a 1-2 count. Dolsi didn't get him to chase high, then Guerrero fouled off a splitter inside. With the count 2-2, Dolsi challenged Guerrero with a slider in the strike zone. Guerrero swung and missed.

Dolsi went on to have his adventures after that with a two-out single to Hunter, who stole second base while Dolsi wasn't paying attention returning to the mound and took third when Dolsi overthrew catcher Ivan Rodriguez on an intentional walk to Garret Anderson.

Dolsi suffered the loss in Monday's game, a 1-0 decision in 12 innings. He left with the bases loaded and one out, and Bobby Seay walked home the winning run.

However, Dolsi has made an impression.

"He's probably ahead of his time a little bit up here," Leyland said, "but one thing I like about him is he's not afraid. He wasn't afraid to throw a breaking ball behind in the count. He probably actually threw too many, but I've been impressed with him."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.