WASHINGTON -- Kenny Rogers will return to the mound on Friday night, but that's two days later than he would like.

Rogers threw a bullpen session on Monday in Washington and is ready to return to the lineup. He asked manager Jim Leyland if he could pitch on Wednesday, but Leyland declined. That night belongs to Jeremy Bonderman, who is riding a hot streak right now that Leyland doesn't want to tamper with.

The team has an off-day Thursday before facing the Atlanta Braves on Friday, which is the earliest possible date for Rogers' return.

"Until I'm on the mound, I'm not taking anything for granted," Rogers said.

When asked if he was upset that he wasn't allowed to pitch Wednesday, Rogers replied that "I'm always upset when I don't get the ball."

Rogers' return to the lineup, combined with the off-day, allows Leyland to shuffle his pitching spots however he sees fit. Nate Robertson also threw a bullpen session on Monday, and the return of both pitchers will help shore up the rotation.

"That's a big treat for a manager, because it eliminates a problem," Leyland said.

The manager emphasized that it wouldn't mean the end of all the team's problems. He doesn't want the offense to get lulled into a false sense of security because of who is on the mound.

"We can't expect seven innings of no-hit ball every time out," he said.

Pitching move: The Tigers swapped pitchers on Monday, as Yorman Bazardo was optioned to Triple-A for Eulogio De La Cruz.

De La Cruz is one of the organization's top prospects, and Leyland said it's a chance to see what the righty can do at the Major League level.

"All I can tell you is that he can throw it 95-100 mph," the manager said. "He's got talent, so we'll find out."

De La Cruz will be used late in games, and probably won't see any action as a middle reliever. He had four outings in Toledo. After being roughed up the first night -- pitching the same day he arrived -- he settled in and had three solid outings of at least two innings. He was originally a starting pitcher, but has been converted to a reliever.

"Right now our needs are more in the bullpen," general manager David Dombrowski said.

Bazardo returns to Triple-A Toledo with an endorsement from Leyland.

"I like him, but he's just not ready to pitch up here," he said. "He didn't do anything wrong."

It runs in the family: Justin Verlander's younger brother Ben joined him in the clubhouse on Monday. The two share a common bond: They've both thrown a no-hitter this year.

Ben, who is 15 years old, threw his for the Goochland (Va.) High School junior varsity team against Amelia County High School. He was asked to compare that with the elder Verlander's, which came against the Brewers.

"I didn't need any great diving plays," he said.

In case a little joking from his brother wasn't enough, there was also another incident earlier Monday.

While walking with teammates Magglio Ordonez and Zach Miner, the three were stopped by a security guard who asked to see their IDs. Ordonez and Miner had theirs, but Verlander didn't. The man who was the talk of the nation just one week ago wasn't recognized by the guard.

After a couple minutes, he was allowed to rejoin his teammates, but not without another round of joking.

"I guess a no-hitter doesn't mean anything to these guys," Miner said.

Coming up: The Tigers continue Interleague Play with a 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Chad Durbin (5-3, 4.60 ERA) will get his turn pitching in RFK Stadium, a park that's been very favorable to pitchers this season. He'll face the Nationals' Jason Simontacchi (4-4, 4.84 ERA).