February 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tom Gage

Tigers' rotation lacks stellar understudies

After Jose Alvarez, the Tigers don't have any great candidates to enter the rotation should a starter get hurt. (Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News)

Gage’s 140 (words, not characters)

I’m not sure the Tigers have enough starting pitchers.

But I’m not talking about the five they’re going to use.

The five are fine. The Tigers’ rotation, if it stays healthy, is one of the best in the majors — maybe the best.

But the Tigers can’t bank on their starters staying as healthy as they did last year. It was an exceptional season in that regard.

The top five Tigers’ starters in 2013 started 156 of 162 games.

One of the keys of spring training, however, will be to identify the understudies — who’s going to help if help is needed.

Jose Alvarez and who else? The rotation is strong, but the sub-rotation isn’t.

By now, I thought we’d see another starter with major-league experience get a spring-training invite.

Knowing what they’re up against, though, they’ve all gone elsewhere.

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