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Tigers' Ryan welcomes return to bullpen as a relief

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Kyle Ryan, thank you for your efforts on Monday, now go back to the bullpen.

Manager Brad Ausmus said before the game Tuesday he would be returning Ryan to his reliever duties, even though Ryan was sharp in a seven-inning spot start against the White Sox Monday.

"As long as I'm on the field, it doesn't matter," Ryan said after he allowed two runs and six hits.

Ryan has made no secret of the fact he feels he's better suited to a bullpen role.

"My preference is the 'pen," Ryan said last week. "I just feel more comfortable. It's weird to say, but I feel more comfortable being uncomfortable."

Like many contented and comfortable relief pitchers, Ryan is an adrenaline junky.

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"I live off that adrenaline rush," he said. "I live off the fans and the situation. In the starting role, I have to get comfortable. I have to get my mind right."

Ausmus already knew that about Ryan, but as he said, "The needs of the team transcend the needs of a player."

With the doubleheader on Monday, the Tigers needed a sixth starter and Ryan, who had just worked 4⅔ innings of relief seven days earlier, was the most ready. But Ausmus agrees that Ryan is probably better suited to pitch in relief.

"If a player is more comfortable in a particular role, you are probably going to get more out of him in that role," Ausmus said. "Kyle and I talked before he got sent down the last time and he told me he prefers to be a reliever. And quite frankly, I think he may be better off as a reliever.

"It was just a situation where we needed a starter and he was capable. He pitched well, but I am not sure it changed anything."

Ausmus set the rotation for the series against the Twins this weekend — Matt Boyd will pitch Friday, Alfredo Simon Saturday and Randy Wolf Sunday.

Record for McCann

Not Bill Freehan. Not Lance Parrish. Not Matt Nokes. Not Alex Avila.

James McCann now hold the Tigers record for most innings played by a catcher in his rookie season – 880⅔. That tops Frank House, who caught 880 innings in 1954.

"We thought Alex would do the bulk of the catching this year," Ausmus said. "But Alex's injury and James' performance altered that."

Ausmus, in his rookie season, caught 833⅔ innings.

Around the horn
The Tigers' Single A affiliate West Michigan won the Midwest League title Monday night. The Whitecaps beat Cedar Rapids, 3-2.

…Right-hander Buck Farmer, who missed two weeks with a forearm strain, has been available to pitch since Monday.

…By dropping the doubleheader on Monday, the Tigers are assured of their first losing home record since 2008.

Tigers starter Kyle Ryan delivers a pitch against the White Sox during the first inning of the first game of a doubleheader Monday at Comerica Park in Detroit.