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Leyland decides one of last 'pen spots

Leyland decides one of last spots

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- What had been a decision for manager Jim Leyland on two bullpen spots is now down to one. It doesn't mean that Fernando Rodney's outlook has changed, but it means Leyland has decided one of the spots.

"I've got my team already with the exception of one guy," Leyland said. "I've got 24."

That's as specific as Leyland would get on it.

"I'm not announcing anything," he said Sunday morning before the Tigers took on the Rays at Al Lang Field. "I'm just telling you, I've got 24 players. I've got one spot to go yet. The only reason you don't announce anything is that there could be a trade, we could pick somebody up."

Sunday's comments come on the heels of Saturday's loss to the Yankees. Denny Bautista pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on one hit and a strikeout in that game, stretching his scoreless Spring Training to 9 1/3 innings on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts.

Bautista is out of Minor League options, as is Yorman Bazardo, who allowed three runs on four hits and three walks over 2 1/3 innings on Sunday afternoon against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Aquilino Lopez, meanwhile, tossed two perfect innings to give him nine innings with two runs allowed so far this spring. Preston Larrison, who pitched on Saturday, and Freddy Dolsi, who gave up three runs to the Mets on Sunday, are also believed to be candidates.

One potential trade that complicates the Tigers' roster -- whether it happens or not -- is Brandon Inge, who remains on the block with two weeks to go before Opening Day. Inge started at third base for the Tigers' split-squad against the Rays, while Miguel Cabrera started against the Mets.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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