Weather forces pitching changes, Tigers to skip Drew Smyly in rotation

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mother Nature is not cooperating with Brad Ausmus' plans for his starting rotation.

Knowing there's rain, and lots of it, projected for the next two days in southeast Michigan, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is making contingency plans for the numerous scheduled and unscheduled days off early in the season.

Today's postponement doesn't change the starting assignments for Anibal Sanchez or Justin Verlander. Ausmus confirmed Sanchez will get starting nod in the next game the Tigers play, be it Friday or Saturday.

"Sanchie's going to start our next game, whenever that is. Tonight. Tomorrow. I think the bigger concern is we don't want a situation where Sanchie is out there and throws two innings and suddenly we're rained out. For us, that would be the worst-case scenario."

Verlander will definitely start on Sunday, and his next appearance will be on the west coast trip with an extra day's rest.

As the rotation currently stands, weather permitting, the Tigers' starting pitchers for the upcoming Orioles' series are Sanchez, Rick Porcello and Verlander.

Fifth starter Drew Smyly is the odd-man out in the Tigers' shortened early season rotation. He wasn't going to start during next week's west coast swing. Today's rain means Smyly's scheduled stat this weekend will also be skipped. It's quite possible over the next two weeks we'll be seeing Smyly used out of the bullpen in much the same way he was for much of 2013.

Smyly being skipped now could work in the Tigers' favor later in the season, being his innings are being watched closely. The most innings Smyly has thrown in his short career is 99 1/3 in his 2012 rookie season.

Asumus added backups Don Kelly and Brian Holaday will get a start during the Orioles series.

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