June 19th, 2012

Valverde encouraged by initial tests, getting MRI

Jose Valverde said after the game that he was told by the Tigers medical staff that initial tests on his injured right wrist suggest it isn’t a serious injury. However, he left the ballpark soon after that to undergo an MRI at Detroit Medical Center.

Valverde said the wrist is sore, not a sharp pain. He hurt it while warming up in the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. He felt it immediately, tried to throw another pitch after that and couldn’t.

“I threw like 10 or 15 pitches. I’m almost ready for the game, and the last pitch I throw, I noticed my wrist started getting sore, tight,” he said. “I had to stop, tell them what’s going on, because I don’t want to be out for too long if it’s something serious.

“But I think I’ll be OK. I’m getting an MRI right now to figure it out.”

It all happened so quickly that Coke didn’t know what was going on until bullpen coach Mike Rojas told him to start warming up. He saw Valverde put down his glove and sit down and thought he had simply finished his warmup routine.

If Valverde is out for any length of time, look for Joaquin Benoit to fill in as closer. The way Benoit has been pitching for the past six weeks, that shouldn’t be a weakness at all. It’s the trickle-down effect to the earlier innings where a Valverde injury would create the biggest issue, because after Phil Coke and Octavio Dotel sharing the eighth inning, the relief corps gets very young. One would imagine Brayan Villarreal getting a good amount of seventh-inning hold chances.

Tuesday lineups: Tigers vs. Cardinals

Quintin Berry is again in the lineup, batting second and starting in left. Brennan Boesch moves down to the sixth spot, batting behind Delmon Young. Ramon Santiago gets the start at second base.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Quintin Berry, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH
  6. Brennan Boesch, RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  9. Gerald Laird, C

P: Justin Verlander

CARDINALS

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Carlos Beltran, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, DH
  4. Allen Craig, LF
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. David Freese, 3B
  7. Matt Adams, 1B
  8. Skip Schumaker, CF
  9. Daniel Descalso, 2B

P: Lance Lynn

Dotel activated from DL, Weber optioned

The Tigers got a major bump for their bullpen Tuesday by activating right-hander Octavio Dotel from the 15-day disabled list. Detroit optioned Thad Weber back to Toledo to make room.

Dotel hasn’t pitched in a game in two weeks, but didn’t go on the DL until last week. What was hoped to be minor shoulder soreness lingered until they couldn’t go a man short in the bullpen any longer. Jose Ortega and Luis Marte ended up in late-innings situations and struggled. Brayan Villarreal later stepped up and had an impressive stretch as the right-hander to carry leads to Joaquin Benoit.

Detroit’s late-inning relief corps is now pretty much intact with Dotel and Phil Coke carrying leads to Benoit and then to Jose Valverde. The Tigers could get another boost if Al Alburquerque returns as hoped around the all-star break.

Dotel returns just in time to face his former club. He won a World Series title with the Cardinals last fall.

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