It's been the only elephant in the room for the Tigers as far as the World Baseball Classic is concerned.

Losing Miguel Cabrera for a chunk of time to Team Venezuela after Saturday's game — or any hitter to any of the teams in the WBC, for that matter — doesn't have the potential impact in terms of being an interruption as losing a starting pitcher does.

Cabrera will get his swings and knock in runs whether it's a spring training trip or the major league postseason.

But when a starting pitcher suddenly finds himself in a competitive situation when he otherwise wouldn't — such as the one in which Anibal Sanchez will soon find himself when he leaves to pitch for Venezuela — it's guaranteed to be a different pace of preparation for him.

And, therefore, something to adjust to.

Sanchez made his second start of the spring for the Tigers on Thursday in their 11-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Three hits from Nick Castellanos and Austin Jackson's two-run home run were the offensive highlights for the Tigers, who blew the game open with five runs in the ninth, but three scoreless innings for Sanchez were encouraging, as well.

This is Sanchez's first spring for the Tigers.

He impressed them enough last year for them to bring him back for $80 million. They know his work ethic. They're well aware of his talent, but they can only assume that when it comes to pitching for his country, he won't overdo it.

From The Detroit News: