Villarreal shut down from winter ball

After vacation time (except for a day to cover the Anibal Sanchez signing), then holiday time, I’m back on the beat, which means I’m catching up on some of the things that happened while I was off. There’s a lot of stuff, but one that didn’t get a lot of attention was an elbow scare for Brayan Villarreal. Thanks to eltigrevenezolano for pointing it out in the comments section on the last post.

The Tigers had Villarreal pitch winter ball in his native Venezuela with the idea of getting him about 15 innings of work, all in relief. It would be just enough to get him to work on some things and get some early preparation for spring training, but not enough to really tax him.

Vilarreal joined the Caribes de Anzoategui in early December and pitching in three games, pitching three scoreless innings on one hit with a run and a strikeout. He complained about some arm problems in mid-December and was sent back to the U.S. to have his elbow checked out, according to the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. The tests reportedly revealed inflammation, but no structural damage.

The Tigers confirmed he was checked out but showed nothing serious. While Villarreal was reportedly was expected to be sidelined until January, word from the Tigers was that they reached an agreement with Villarreal to shut him down for the rest of the winter and have him get ready for spring training, rather than have him return cold for the Venezuelan playoffs.

If elbow inflammation sounds familiar for Villarreal, that’s because he was diagnosed with the same thing in August after some discomfort. He returned from that scare after six days and picked up where he left off with some very good outings, but then struggled through September before being left off the postseason roster.

Considering how well Villarreal pitched when he was at his best during the summer, it’s hard to overestimate how important he is to the 2013 bullpen as it’s currently constructed. He isn’t viewed as a closer in the making, not now anyway, but he has the stuff to play a big role in the later innings, especially if someone else from the setup ranks steps up to close. On a team that didn’t have a consistent lefty reliever, Villarreal held left-handed hitters to a .190 batting average (12-for-63, 19 walks, 18 strikeouts). If he corrals his stuff like Fernando Rodney eventually did, he has tremendous capability. But of course, he can’t do it if he’s hurt, which is why the Tigers are watching him closely.

25 Comments

I hope this kid can get healthy since his stats looked pretty good against the lefties. Elbow problems are so tricky in the first place, and I’m sure the Tigs will need him this coming season.
-Mike

http://minoringinbaseball.com/2011/03/27/villarreal-for-real/

Oh, no. We can’t lose him.

Happy 2013 everyone! I’m back. Somehow I lost the ability to make comments here just as the play-offs started. So you were deprived of my undisputed wisdom about the Tigers’ fortunes. :) I believe I have solved the problem now. Good progress by the Tigers in signing Torii Hunter and Anibal Sanchez. Counting on a healthy return by VMart. And yes, they’ll need a strong bullpen including Villarreal.

welcome back!

Pingback: Winter Ball Update 2012: Part Five | Walkoff Woodward

Not a doctor but breaks in activity are not going to fix the underlying structural issue.
TJ surgery for him sooner rather than later.

Brayan is not going to have an easy time of it. He battles himself and now he has another battle to deal with (re-curring injury). Can be dominating and at times, overpowering, but he does need to incorporate his mind into his arsenal. He seems to have a major league arm and a pony league understanding of the game.
The guy I think has enormous potential is “Q”. This guy has a devastating slider, almost a kind of pitch that no one else has. He has good velocity (though down after his surgery) and he has a brain that seems to fit his role. Doesn’t get rattled, BV does and when he loses it, he seems overwhelmed and unable to recover.
The downside on both of these guys are their mechanics and the physical demand they put on their arms.
We are fortunate to have them both.

One positive for Brayan is that his mental approach did improve this past season. He’s not there yet, but there is progress. The first time I saw him pitch two springs ago in Dunedin, I thought he was the jumpiest pitcher I’d seen in a long time. It didn’t help that he was following Jacob Turner’s smooth delivery that day, which was at direct odds to Villarreal’s.

One of my fondest memories of Brayan is when Jim brought him into a game to throw one pitch and that was to 1st base to pick the guy off. I loved that.

He ended with a hold without throwing a single pitch

oh yeah! That was cool Jim and Dan couldn’t stop – do you remember the date of that game?

Checked at baseball-reference: April 12 2011. Texas vs Detroit

BV was kind of a secret weapon at the time and obviously the Rangers hadn’t had any scouting reports on him and his fab pick-off moves.

thanks dude – i’m listening to that game right now. it’s just nice to hear “history” —even if it is already history hah.

held the 4-3 lead in the 7th. :)

Just don’t ask him to understand about covering home with the sacks loaded and a wild pitch and 2 strikes.
He does seem pretty overwhelmed with how the game is played sometimes. I think the guy could be great if he learns how to throw his good slider when the hitters are sitting dead red. He gets carried away with his fastball and I must say it’s not all his fault. His catcher has to insist on the pitch to throw. He has a really effective assortment of pitches but doesn’t manage them well.

Evan and Kathy… David Saltzer of AngelsWin.com had an article posted on Yardbarker this morning regarding Hunter. You might find his perspective interesting.

Thanks. I’m going over there now to check it out.

Mostly about civil discourse. Twitter and anonomous user names can spew hate. My beef with Torii started when he admonished the Angels GM publicly re $$$$$. He was a Tiger for cripes sake. Move on, TH and now since he chose to make his Christian beliefs be known, he’ll probably hear some chirping in RF. I hope the players love their fans……..all of them.

Hmmm.

Never did get to hear the 97.1 interview with Dan Dickerson last night. Heard Dan’s voice for about 10 seconds and then it went silent. Haven’t read anything about it either.

Uh……….Torii’s christian beliefs have been known for a long time. That’s not news. In fact, none of this is newsworthy unless one considers a man giving an honest answer to a question big news.

I don’t know. Hunter’s comments sure generated lots of news articles nationally as well as blog entries here. I personally found Saltzer’s perspective different than most takes and it seemed to lend some balance to the situation.

The media need to find better things to report and the players need to to know when not to dignify a question by answering.

So now were complaining because we have an honest christian outfielder? Heck is manny ramirez available. Maybe that would suit the complainers.

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