Daniel Schlereth set to take on bigger role in Tigers’ bullpen

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Part of the reason why the Tigers are moving Phil Coke from the bullpen to the rotation following a fantastic year as a setup man in 2010 is that they feel confident about replacing him with rookie Daniel Schlereth, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Schlereth is slated to take over for Coke as the Tigers’ primary left-handed setup man after the 2008 first-round pick tossed 19 innings with a 2.89 ERA and 19/10 K/BB ratio last season. He also had a 2.37 ERA and 60/34 K/BB ratio in 49 innings at Triple-A, and the 25-year-old southpaw has the potential to be more than simply a left-handed specialist if his control improves.

Here’s what general manager Dave Dombrowski had to say about his role in 2011 and beyond:

I think Daniel Schlereth can do that. We liked what we saw last year. Now, he can do more than that. He can get righties and lefties. He’s got a left-handed breaking ball and an above-average fastball. But he can get out anybody, really.

Schlereth, whose father Mark played in the NFL and is now a football analyst for ESPN, averaged 92 miles per hour with his fastball and also features a low-80s curveball. He’ll join Ryan Perry and free agent signing Joaquin Benoit in setting up closer Jose Valverde, with Joel Zumaya possibly joining the mix depending on his health.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.