7/9/2013 7:47 P.M. ET
Smyly has settled into setup role for Tigers
By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Drew Smyly has been forced to wear a ton of hats this season, from trying to make the team as a starter in Spring Training, to being a long reliever at the beginning of the year, to finally becoming a late-inning setup man.
He's thrived in each role, with a 2.04 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over 53 innings, the second-highest innings total among relievers in the Majors.
"We kind of had to wait to see how the bullpen was going to look and play out, so we kind of had to make sure we had to get him innings so we didn't just sit him up here and waste him," manager Jim Leyland said. "And as it turned out, when all the pieces started to get sorted out, you figured you needed him most when you needed to win a game. And you can use him more to win three games a week or four games a week than you can [as a long reliever]."
While Smyly has transferred roles throughout the year, he's cemented as a necessity in the late innings -- for now at least.
"I'm not stretching Smyly out right now, you can forget that," Leyland said. "That's a thing of the past right now. He can stretch out in the winter -- on his bed somewhere.
"We've been very happy with him. I think he's going to be a great pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, and I think he's going to be an outstanding starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers at some point."
Road trip success a 'good tonic' for Tigers
DETROIT -- With a 7-4 record on the 11-game road trip, the Tigers are back to a .500 record (23-23) away from Comerica Park.
"I'm very happy with this trip to be honest with you, very satisfied," manager Jim Leyland said. "We had just come off a bad series at home, and going to three tough places, I thought it turned out pretty good."
After dropping three of the first four games on the trip, the Tigers battled back from a four-run deficit on their way to winning five straight games.
"The reason we had a good trip is because everybody at one time or another did something, including the [Ramon] Santiagos and the [Don] Kellys and the guys who filled in. It was a good trip for those guys.
"That's the best tonic there is. That's what I was just saying earlier, on this road trip, a lot of guys made contributions, and some of the little guys that don't get a chance to play much. That's always good tonic for your team."
Despite Sunday's loss, Leyland was happy with the way the team bounced back after trailing 6-1, and how well the Tigers played through the rain delays on Monday.
"We played good on the trip," Leyland said. "We were pretty resilient. We could have cashed it in last night, you know, we were going to come home with a winning road trip, the weather was brutal … that's a tough trip for guys. I was thrilled with it. I thought we did well."
Leyland can relax a little before All-Star break
DETROIT -- Manager Jim Leyland can breathe a sigh of relief this week. Not only are the Tigers back at home after an 11-game road trip, but he also doesn't have to worry about selecting an American League All-Star roster.
"I was really relieved and really happy with it," Leyland said. "Proud of the fact that we did a lot of work, and understanding of the fact that guys like [the Athletics' Josh] Donaldson and [the Rays' Evan] Longoria and them aren't All-Stars this year, but I didn't have anything to do with that."
Leyland talked to every other manager in the American League personally, and spent time with his coaching staff on computers to check out numbers.
"I think we did a real thorough job on it," Leyland said, "and I'm very happy with it."
The starting lineup will be unveiled on Monday, although Leyland says his lineup has been planned out. He also won't have much input on injury replacements. If a pitcher is injured this week, Leyland will get his choice on a replacement. However, if a position player is injured, he is replaced by the player who finished with the highest amount of votes on the players' ballot.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.