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Tigers' Smyly, Oliver sterling in relief03/17/2012 5:45 PM ET
By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com
Two candidates competing for the Tigers' fifth and final starting pitcher slot looked good in a new role on Saturday: relief.
Drew Smyly and Andy Oliver, Detroit's No. 3 and 4 prospects, combined on six shutout innings in their club's 10-3 Grapefruit League victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
In relief of Adam Wilk, the system's No. 17 prospect and yet another candidate for the rotation, Oliver (1-0) allowed only a single to Tony Cruz over the game's fourth and fifth frames; he fanned World Series MVP David Freese to end his outing.
Smyly, who earned his first save of the spring season, was even stingier over the game's final four innings. The 22-year-old lefty walked two but didn't give up a hit and struck out four.
Wilk allowed all three of the Cards' runs on six hits over the game's first three innings. Matt Holliday took him deep for a two-run homer in the top of the first.
Wilk (8-6, 3.24 ERA) and Oliver (8-12, 4.71) spent the bulk of last season at Triple-A Toledo, while Smyly (11-6, 2.07) split his time between Class A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
The crowd of candidates fighting to start for the Tigers are aiming to follow Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello. Jacob Turner, the organization's top prospect and a leading candidate for the gig, has been sidelined to due soreness in his throwing shoulder.