New role for Perry?

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Following the Tigers utterly disappointing loss to the Twins on Tuesday, the team made the roster move needed to activate Dontrelle Willis in time for his start today. Kurt passed along a “tweet” from Jason Beck stating that Juan Rincon is on his way out. He has three days to accept a demotion to Toledo or elect free agency. As an aside, I don’t tweet, I have never even been to this twitter site. I am but a simple caveman, and your high-tech world of tweets frightens me. I guess I should probably get with the program, though. I’ll put it on my to do list. Anyhow, Beck also mentioned Jim Leyland’s use of Ryan Perry. Specifically, that Leyland’s plan is to extend Perry up to 40 pitches per outing. Obviously, Perry has not been used in late inning short relief much since the return of Joel Zumaya, so evidently, Leyland planned to use him in more of a long relief role. My only question is…. uhh, why? The bullpen has a glut of long relievers right now, recently displaced starter Zach Miner is already stretched out, and former actual living member of the pitching staff Nate Robertson is, in fact, still on the active roster, and could presumably pitch in that role as well. Leyland said he felt it was a good way to “break (Perry) in”, and while I’ll agree that the more live batters he faces, the faster he will develop, how many long men does one team need?

Perhaps Leyland is taking the glass half full approach; If his starter falters early, he could set it up to bring Perry in early, to try to hold the other offense down. Not many teams have a guy that can dominate in the long role, as guys that can do that, (and Perry can) are usually either starters or late inning guys. He obviously feels quite comfortable with Brandon Lyon and Bobby Seay in middle relief, followed by Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. I can’t say as I blame Leyland for that line of thinking. But again, the reason that pitchers with the kind of stuff that Perry can feature don’t pitch in long relief, is that they are typically much more useful in the other roles. And I would guess that Leyland eventually plans to return Perry to short relief. In the meantime, however, what will the roles of Miner and Robertson be?