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Phil Coke starts in Tigers' win, but will begin year in bullpen

In recent days, manager Jim Leyland said he made the decision who would start the second game of the season for the Tigers -- and consequently which starter would begin the year in the bullpen -- but he might not let the media know right away. Turns out, Brad Penny will start the second game, and today's spring training starter, Phil Coke, will begin in the bullpen. That's the real news of the day. Coke make his fist start April 9 against the Royals.


Coke's day on the mound started a bit off, but he managed to settle in during Detroit's 9-1 victory. Coke allowed two hits and two walks in the first inning, accounting for that lone run. He went five innings and allowed just four hits and two walks overall, so it sounds like he adjusted pretty well afterward.

Meanwhile the Tigers rapped out 18 hits against the Astros. Austin Jackson had three; Victor Martinez, three; Will Rhymes, two; Andy Dirks two; and Brandon Inge, two. Extra base hits? They had a few. Martinez doubled twice. Rhymes had a double and triple. Inge doubled, and Danny Worth tripled.

In relief, Joquin Benoit kept his spring ERA flawless at 0. Brayan Villarreal, Jose Valverde and Enrique Gonzalez all pitched scoreless innings as well.

Other plots? If you're still sniffing around the race for second base, Scott Sizemore has not started for a fourth consecutive game, dating back to March 17. Does that mean anything? Who knows ... Worth played all three infield positions at some point in the game. ... Magglio Ordonez remained out of the lineup with a sore hamstring.