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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.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.