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09/01/08 3:05 PM ET

Tigers prep Garcia for simulated game

Recovering righty to alternate innings with Willis on Tuesday

DETROIT -- Freddy Garcia's first pitching assignment with the Tigers will match him up against Dontrelle Willis in Tuesday's simulated game.

Manager Jim Leyland said on Monday morning that while Garcia won't join the active roster yet, he'll join the pitching ranks on Tuesday. He'll alternate simulated innings with Willis on Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park.

While no plans have been announced for Garcia past that, the outing is expected to stretch out his arm for a potential start at a later date. He at least looms as an option after signing a Minor League contract last month, making one start each at Class A Lakeland and Triple-A Toledo.

Garcia pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts for the Mud Hens on Thursday. After that game, he said he could probably go four innings at that point if the Tigers needed him for a start. Tuesday's simulated game will likely try to stretch him past that point to allow him to go longer in a real game.

At this point, arm strength and endurance appear to be the remaining points to improve in Garcia's game. One year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and repair his right rotator cuff, Garcia's velocity has improved but hasn't hit its previous level, while his offspeed pitches have been effective.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.