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Tigers not expected to use four-man rotation down the stretch

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Minneapolis – Manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday morning that he is not considering paring down to a four-man rotation for the stretch run.

“I just don’t think for the next two weeks, pitching guys on three days’ rest would be real good at the end of the season,” he said.

The question is relevant, though, considering the uncertainty and ineffectiveness of the fifth starter spot.

Jordan Zimmermann, in all probability, will not make another start in the regular season. Nor will Mike Pelfrey. Ausmus said Zimmermann is scheduled to throw a third simulated game on Monday.

“Just to see if we can get him back to where he feels consistent with his mechanics and has the ability to get hitters out,” Ausmus said.

The aim is to have him available should the Tigers make a post-season run.

“We have to keep doing everything to get him ready because we don’t know how long we’re going to be playing,” Ausmus said. “Simple as that.”

Ausmus doesn’t think it’s likely Zimmermann would be used out of the bullpen down the stretch, either.

“I don’t want to say no, but I don’t think it would be ideal for him to pitch out of the bullpen,” he said.

For now, Anibal Sanchez, who started the first game of the double-header Thursday, and Buck Farmer are going to share the fifth starter spot. After Thursday, the Tigers will need a fifth starter two more times.

So, if the Tigers stay to the current rotation, here’s how they would finish:

► Friday vs. Royals – Michael Fulmer.

► Saturday vs. Royals – Daniel Norris.

► Sunday vs. Royals – Matt Boyd.

► Monday vs. Indians – Farmer.

► Tuesday vs. Indians – Verlander.

► Wednesday vs. Indians – Fulmer.

► Thursday vs. Indians – Norris.

► Friday, Sept. 30 at Atlanta – Boyd.

► Saturday, Oct. 1 at Atlanta – Sanchez or Farmer.

► Sunday, Oct. 2 at Atlanta – Verlander.