The move puts rookie Kyle Lobstein in line to pitch the next-to-last game of the regular season Saturday against the Twins, a game that could have playoff implications. In the end, Tigers officials decided to give Sanchez a transition period in relief this week to get him used to warming up quickly and entering midgame.
That doesn't mean he'll have a relief appearance set ahead of time, Ausmus said. Nor does it mean he'll automatically have a long-relief role.
"I think he can fill a number of roles," Ausmus said Monday. "It would depend on how deep the starter went. If the starter struggles, he could probably pitch the sixth and seventh. If the starter did well, he could probably pitch the seventh, he could probably pitch the eighth. Really, his stuff is that good. I wouldn't be afraid to use him at any point in the game, really."
Whenever Sanchez is used out of the bullpen, it'll be the second relief appearance of his Major League career. His second big league appearance was technically in relief, replacing Brian Moehler after he gave up three runs and recorded just two outs against the Red Sox on July 1, 2006. However, Sanchez was essentially a starter at that point.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.