Alburquerque day-to-day with mild inflammation
The good news for Al Alburquerque is that the elbow issues that left him unable to pitch Wednesday don’t appear to be anything serious. An examination from the team medical staff Thursday morning revealed what head athletic trainer Kevin Rand characterized as mild inflammation around his elbow, which he hopes they can clear up with a little rest over the next few days.
“The flexor tendinitis, that’s fine,” Rand said. “He’s just got some mild inflammation around the joint now that we’ve just got to work through. It’s all inter-related.”
The bad news is that it’s a reminder that the Tigers still need to watch how their rookie relief sensation is used. As nasty as his slider can be, the temptation to overuse him can be a risk.
To be fair, the inflammation is a separate issue from the flexor tendinitis that landed him on the disabled list a few weeks ago. That was more around the forearm, though it was related to elbow. Still, the two different symptoms point towards the same reason to exercise caution with him.
Alburquerque hasn’t pitched since tossing a scoreless inning Sunday at Minnesota, but Rand said no issue popped up until Wednesday. The Tigers have been careful to watch his use since his return from the disabled list after the All-Star break. He has 4 1/3 scoreless innings with four stranded runners, a walk and six strikeouts since then.
The flexor tendinitis forced Alburquerque to the DL on July 1, leaving a hole in Detroit’s middle relief corps. But his stay on the DL was a minimal one, consisting mainly of rest for the arm.