The Tigers have one, maybe two, spots open for competition in the bullpen this spring.
You'd have to presume Collin Balester, brought over from Washington in a trade for Ryan Perry, has the inside track for the sixth spot, or why else would Detroit have given up a hard-thrower such as Perry? Balester is out of options, one of the reasons the Nationals traded him, another factor working in his favor.
Still, Balester needs to show in the spring he can be a reliable middle-inning reliever because the Tigers don't have a lot invested in him.
That leaves just one vacancy, at least until Al Alburquerque returns from elbow surgery around the All-Star break.
Left-hander Duane Below showed last summer he might be able to provide occasionally strong middle-inning relief. He was not used regularly in September, though, and he got beat up in those infrequent appearances.
Leyland keep Villarreal last year off an impressive spring, and another young Detroit pitcher could do the same this year.
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