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SEA@DET: Below throws two scoreless innings of relief

Tigers left-hander Duane Below hasn't allowed a run over 12 innings this season, but he'll be taking on a whole new role Monday against the Royals.

After making his first five appearances out of the bullpen, Below will make his first start of the season -- and third of his career -- when Detroit opens a three-game set with Kansas City at Comerica Park. Below's stay in the rotation could last only one start with Doug Fister set to make a rehab start at Triple-A Toledo, but Below doesn't seem to mind his current role.

"I enjoy this spot. I enjoy being part of this team," said Below, who has struck out nine while not issuing a single free pass. "Being able to make this start and contribute there, I'm looking forward to it. We have a great team. We have a great rotation. As soon as everything starts clicking, it's going to be fun to watch."

For now, the Tigers sit at .500, but are just one game out of first place in the American League Central. The slow start for the division has also benefited the Royals, another team waiting to click.

Kansas City bounced back from its 12-game losing streak with three consecutive wins before Sunday's setback. With the loss to the Twins in their series finale, though, the Royals dropped into a tie with Minnesota for the league's worst record at 6-15.

As they look to get back in the win column, the Royals will turn to the same hurler that helped the club snap that long skid -- Luke Hochevar. The right-hander, who was bumped up a day after scheduled starter Jonathan Sanchez felt ill Saturday, allowed just two runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Indians on Wednesday.

"He kept us in check the whole game," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "We couldn't do anything against him when he was out there."

Royals: Sanchez start pushed back a day
Despite missing his scheduled start Monday, Sanchez is expected to pitch in the Detroit series. Manager Ned Yost's plan is to use Sanchez in Tuesday's game, assuming he's recovered from his weekend illness.

"We'll give him an extra day to recover," Yost said.

The Hochevar-Sanchez swap restores the Royals' rotation to its original order of Bruce Chen, Hochevar, Sanchez, Luis Mendoza and Danny Duffy.

Tigers: Fister's rehab start set, but return isn't
Fister will make his first rehab start for Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday at Fifth Third Field against Pawtucket. Beyond that, manager Jim Leyland isn't ready to establish too many specifics.

Leyland said on Saturday night that the Tigers planned on having the right-hander back "real soon," but didn't give any sort of detailed timetable.

Fister threw 50 pitches in his first bullpen session Thursday then exceeded that mark in his last session Saturday. He's expected to work with a normal pitch count in Wednesday's rehab outing.

Worth noting
• Miguel Cabrera is 15-for-29 (.517) with two homers and nine RBIs in his career against Hochevar. The average is Cabrera's highest against any pitcher whom he has recorded 25 or more at-bats.

• Of the 28 teams Prince Fielder has faced, the Royals are one of four (the White Sox, Yankees and Rays being the others) that he has never homered against. Fielder has never faced the Athletics or the Brewers.

• The Tigers, who are 3-0 against the Royals this season, are 5-1-1 in the last seven season series with Kansas City.

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