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Anibal Sanchez willing to take on relief duty

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Anibal Sanchez participated in a bullpen session today, all signs pointing toward his return before the end of the season. But will it be as a starter or reliever?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Anibal Sanchez may not start again for the Detroit Tigers this season due to a strained pectoralis suffered in early August. But Sanchez's rehab is progressing to where pitching out of the bullpen has become a definite possibility.

Before tonight's game in Minnesota Sanchez threw off a mound, taking part in his second short bullpen session in two days. He was reportedly feeling good and pain free after throwing. The next step in Sanchez's rehab may be participating in a simulated game.

The concern is Sanchez will not have enough time left in the season to stretch out and build up enough stamina to pitch starter innings. His pitching out of the bullpen is becoming a option the Tigers are seriously considering.

Sanchez is still preparing as if he will start sometime this month. But when asked about a move from the rotation to the bullpen, Sanchez was open to the challenge.

Manager Brad Ausmus would prefer Sanchez returned to the rotation. But he also admitted time is becoming a factor, the bullpen becoming an 'attractive' option.

Only 12 games remain in the regular season. Factoring in the time frame and the stakes involved, Anibal Sanchez appears on track to become Detroit's not-so-secret weapon out of the bullpen.