Results tagged ‘ Octavio Dotel ’

What’s next for Tigers after Veras

Though Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Jose Veras would likely be his team’s lone move before the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline, that doesn’t mean Dombrowski isn’t going to try for something else. The next goal appears to be another left-handed reliever to slot with Drew Smyly.

Danny Knobler of reported late Monday night that the Tigers are among the many teams in the mix for Giants lefty Javier Lopez. The Giants have been scouting pitchers at Double-A Erie, including right-handed starter Drew VerHagen, according to a source.

There’s also buzz among other clubs that the Tigers could make a run at one more right-handed reliever for depth. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reported Detroit is in the mix for Cubs closer Kevin Gregg. However, there’s a recent history of misguided rumors regarding Tigers interest in Cubs players (Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano among them) which, along with Gregg’s recent struggles and his 4.27 career ERA and 1.44 career WHIP in the American League (well above his NL numbers) bring the level of interest into question.

The Tigers might be able to fill a right-handed relief spot internally. Octavio Dotel has resumed throwing side sessions in Lakeland in his attempt to come back from elbow inflammation. Meanwhile, Jeremy Bonderman threw two perfect innings of relief at Triple-A Toledo on Monday, stretching his streak to seven scoreless innings on one hit in the Mud Hens bullpen.

Though other teams continue to wait for the Tigers to try to add a shortstop in anticipation of a possible Jhonny Peralta suspension, they’ve no shown sign of heavy pursuit, even with the reported availability of Angels shortstop Erick Aybar and rumors the Giants might listen to interest on veteran middle infielder Marco Scutaro. Two thoughts could be in play: First, if Peralta were to appeal any suspension, it could well push back any discipline until next year. Second, if Peralta received a suspension that would allow him to return in time for the postseason, the Tigers would have to debate just how much production they need out of shortstop to win the AL Central.

Other than those two areas, the Tigers are pretty well set.

Injury updates: Jackson still taking BP, Dotel still throwing

Not much new to report on the Tigers’ rehab front. Austin Jackson took batting practice with the team again on Friday, but there was no discussion about an impending rehab assignment. I’m sure that’s frustrating for Tigers fans, but the team medical staff wants to be sure when he gets going again that he’s at minimal risk of re-injuring his left hamstring.

The choices are about to get tougher for the Tigers as far as where to send him, because all three nearby minor-league teams are going to be on the road for a good chunk of next week. The Toledo Mud Hens begin a nine-day road trip Saturday, so Jackson would be in Rochester or Syracuse with the team if he went on assignment with them next week. The Erie SeaWolves are home for the weekend, then take off for Portland (Maine) and New Hampshire. West Michigan is home through Monday, then will be in Midland for three games against the Great Lakes Loons.

As for Octavio Dotel (remember him?), he still has to progress to the point where he can begin a rehab assignment. He hasn’t thrown a mound session in a couple days, but is still pain-free and working out in Lakeland according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Dotel has missed a month and a half now with right elbow inflammation.

Dotel placed on DL, Rondon promoted

The Tigers’ closer of the future didn’t need long to become the relief help of the present. Bruce Rondon, whose triple-digit fastball made him a candidate to head up the bullpen out of Spring Training, earned his first call to the big leagues Tuesday to replace injured Octavio Dotel.

The Tigers placed Dotel on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. They recalled Rondon from Triple-A Toledo, where his season-opening stint as Mud Hens closer produced the dominant right-hander who skyrocketed up the Tigers farm system last year.

It’s not immediately clear how Rondon’s arrival will affect the Tigers’ closer situation. Manager Jim Leyland has said for the past two weeks that he doesn’t have a set closer, but that he’d like to use Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning if he can.

As the Mud Hens closer, Rondon has settled into a rhythm and shown the command that seemed to come and go in Spring Training. His 7 2/3 shutout innings include five hits allowed, two walks and nine strikeouts. He’s 3-for-4 in save opportunities, the exception coming when he couldn’t shut down a bases-loaded jam April 15.

Even so, he struck out four batters over 1 2/3 innings in that outing, and didn’t allow a walk. He hasn’t walked a batter in his last four appearances, covering 4 2/3 innings.

That control likely played a major role in the Tigers’ decision to promote him now rather than let him continue his Triple-A education. He joins a Tigers bullpen that could use his help after relievers have covered 20 1/3 innings over Detroit’s last five games, including a 13-inning loss Sunday against the Angels.

Dotel was unavailable Sunday, which helped put the Tigers in the precarious position of having just left-handers left as the game rolled into extra innings.

Dotel said after that game that the elbow inflammation that sidelined him the previous weekend hadn’t gone away.

“It’s still there,” Dotel said. I’m just trying to get through that, but it’s still there and hopefully we just found out a way to get it out.”

Dotel suggested at the time that they would see how his elbow felt on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old has pitched just 4 2/3 innings over six outings so far this year, but his average fastball velocity is down about three miles per hour from last year according to That said, the Tigers have been bringing him along slowly since spring because of his limited work in Spring Training and during the World Baseball Classic.

Dotel has pitched Friday against the Angels, so the DL move was made retroactive to last Saturday. He’ll be eligible to come off the DL on May 5, the last day of a four-game series in Houston. If Rondon is overpowering big-league hitters when Dotel is ready to return, the Tigers will have a decision to make whether Rondon is ready to stick in the Majors.

Dotel apologizes to Cabrera, team for leadership quotes

Octavio Dotel said he apologized to Miguel Cabrera in front of the team for comments in a Yahoo Sports article in which he suggested Cabrera should take more a leadership role on the team.

“I just want to apologize to Miggy,” Dotel said Wednesday morning. “I’m really sorry, and I hope Miggy doesn’t hate me for that.”

Cabrera later told reporters, “It’s no big deal.”

Dotel was quoted in Yahoo saying Cabrera is “more about his game,” and mentioned other players such as Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander possibly taking a more vocal leadership role.

Dotel suggested the quotes were taken out of context.

“That’s not what I was trying to mean,” Dotel said.

You might remember the exchange between Dotel and Cabrera in the clubhouse in Oakland after the Tigers lost Game 4 of the AL Division Series. Dotel suggested in Spanish that Cabrera needed to talk to reporters and convey a sense of no panic on the team, and Cabrera didn’t talk. Dotel later told that he suggested a team meeting but the efforts were rebuffed.

Though the Yahoo story said Dotel also asked for a team meeting after Game 2 of the World Series, Dotel said that wasn’t true.

“Never against the Giants,” Dotel said. “I was hoping [a meeting would happen].”

Jim Leyland said he had no problem getting apologies like that out in the open when a situation pops up.

“I think that kind of stuff’s great,” Leyland said. “I love that kind of stuff.”

The Yahoo article went on to ask whether the Tigers clubhouse needed more leadership, but made no mention of offseason acquisition Torii Hunter, whose leadership abilities have been praised. Victor Martinez, meanwhile, was mentioned only in passing in the article, though his absence last season left the Tigers looking in other directions for clubhouse leadership.

Early notes: Boesch day-to-day with oblique tightness

It’s all relative, but it’s a chilly morning by Florida standards in Lakeland, where Bruce Rondon is scheduled to throw to hitters this afternoon. One hitter who will not be taking part today is Brennan Boesch, who tweaked his right oblique while taking swings on Saturday.

It’s a precautionary move, Boesch said. Better to miss a few days now and be ready when games begin next weekend than to have this linger. Remember, Boesch was bothered by minor injuries last spring training, including lower back soreness and a bad ankle.

“It’s February. I don’t want to take any chances right now,” Boesch said. “Get it over with so I can get plenty of at-bats in Spring Training. …

“I’m optimistic I’ll be out there in the next day or two. The most important thing is not rushing it so I get all the at-bats I need in spring to compete and to prepare for the season.”

Other notes from Sunday morning:

  • Look for the Tigers to get Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus some time in left field this spring as they try to determine just how useful the speedy right-handed hitter can be as a utility player. Kobernus was almost exclusively a second baseman in the Nationals system the last four years, but said he did outfield work this winter to prepare. With his speed and his success against left-handed pitching in the minors (.326 last year at Double-A Harrisburg, .306 at Harrisburg in 2011), he definitely has manager Jim Leyland’s attention. “I think he’s a very interesting guy,” Leyland said, “and he will definitely get every possible look to see if he’s a fit or not.”
  • Leyland says they have 15 legitimate candidates for the bullpen, including sure things like Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke and Octavio Dotel. It’s a good number to have, and potentially could give them some options at the end of camp as well as into the season, but the closer question is going to have an impact throughout the bullpen unless they have one guy who can take hold of the job.

Tigers pick up options on Peralta, Dotel

For the first time in four years, Octavio Dotel won’t be changing teams. Neither will Jhonny Peralta, whose future in Detroit looked like it was in serious question in September.

On the day the Tigers announced their contract extension with manager Jim Leyland, they also got their lingering contract options out of the way by picking up the option years on Dotel and Peralta.

Dotel had a $3.5 million option or $500,000 buyout on the one-year deal he signed last year. He just ended his best season in at least three years, allowing 50 hits over 58 innings with 62 strikeouts while giving the Tigers a proven arm for setup situations in the seventh and eighth innings. He tossed five hitless innings over six postseason appearances, walking five and striking out six.

Dotel made it clear Sunday night after the World Series closed that he wanted to return.

Dotel’s performance over the course of the season made it a pretty easy decision. The $6 million option on Peralta for next season, on the other hand, looked a lot more complicated until the postseason.

After an All-Star season in 2011, the 30-year-old Peralta played most of 2012 like he was an older shortstop, at the plate and in the field. He batted just .218 after the All-Star break, including .171 in September, resulting in a 60-point drop in his batting average from last year. His OPS plummeted from .825 to .689. Defensively, though he generally made the plays he got to, his range and his arm seemed to suffer. The range made sense a bit with the change of third basemen from Brandon Inge to Miguel Cabrera. The occasionally soft throws were more of a mystery.

Then came the postseason.

Not only did Peralta have a boost at the plate, going 13-for-50 with three home runs, five RBIs and five runs scored, he made one rangy play after another at short. Nobody, not even Peralta, seemed to have an answer why, though some speculated that Peralta’s family situation over the summer — his wife gave birth to twins in June — weighed on his mind.

Though Stephen Drew’s addition to the free-agent market and Yunel Escobar’s move to the trade market created more possibilities for alternatives, in the end, the Tigers liked what they saw from Peralta for the money. Some have speculated the Tigers could still add a shortstop and trade Peralta, but that’s an awful lot of trouble to go through when multiple alternatives are clearly attainable and moving Peralta wouldn’t be a sure bet.

Pitching updates: Fister could start Wednesday

The pitching news coming out of Saturday’s win was a little bit surprising. Manager Jim Leyland decided to go ahead and move Justin Verlander up to start Thursday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on his standard four days’ rest, despite 127 pitches over six innings against the Reds this afternoon. The extra rest for Verlander before this start was a big factor.

When asked if that means Rick Porcello will have his start moved up to Wednesday, however, Leyland said he wants to wait and see on Doug Fister, who had an encouraging session here. Fister is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, so he could start the middle game of the series at Wrigley.

Fister is dealing with a left side strain coming out of his Memorial Day start at Fenway Park. He has been throwing off of flat ground, but throwing hard. If he feels good in a mound session, that could be the trigger that gets on out on the mound again as soon as possible.

No word on how far Porcello would be pushed back if Fister’s ready, or if Casey Crosby would move to the bullpen.

UPDATE: Sunday’s Tigers notes list Porcello as the scheduled start for Wednesday. Will check during pregame interviews later today to see if that’s now a lock.

On the bullpen front, Octavio Dotel said he’s feeling better, but still not ready to go. He’s hoping that if he feels good throwing on Sunday, he can be available in the bullpen Tuesday in Chicago.


Day 7: First serving of Big Potato

Jose Valverde doesn’t really talk a whole lot in spring training. When he does, well, he holds court.

So, while I wrote a piece for the site gauging Valverde’s chances of challenging Eric Gagne’s consecutive saves record, I didn’t really get into the Valverde personality. It doesn’t get muted for the spring.

He didn’t do anything like last October, when he supposedly guaranteed a Tigers win in the Division Series. But he also wasn’t completely serious, either.

“To be so serious, I would be old quick,” Valverde said. “I don’t want to be old.”

No danger.

When asked if he thinks he can reach Gagne’s record of 84 consecutive save opportunities converted, Valverde neither dodged nor hesitated.

“I don’t know,” he answered immediately. “Have to ask God first. I do whatever God tells me, and that’s it.”

If he gets there, he said, “I’ll be celebrating a lot.”

“I have started working right now for some dancing if I get 85 saves,” he proclaimed, much like he said he’d have a new dance in place if he saved the All-Star Game last summer.

When asked about the noise he creates in workouts, he indicated he has no place for peace and quiet.

“I want it to be noisy everywhere,” he said.

“I’ll be loud like crazy in my car, with music and everything,” he continued. “When my friend rides, he told me, ‘What are you doing? I said, ‘Do your thing. Let me do mine.'”

Other highlights …

  • On fatigue last year: “Me, it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been pitching, I never get tired. The Tigers pay me for that. How can I be tired?”
  • On credit to the bullpen for his success: “It’s not only the relievers, the starters too. Because all these guys like Porcello, JV, [if they don’t] go seven innings, I don’t do my job. I have to do it for everybody, not only for the relievers. I have to play for my third baseman, my first baseman, for the whole team.”
  • On whether he’s superstitious talking about his save streak: “I have a lot [of superstitions]. If I had to do all my superstitions right now, we’d be here until tomorrow. I have three pieces of gum in my pocket, my water all the time. I have a lot.”
  • On new teammate Octavio Dotel: “You know, Dotel is 21 years old right now. You have to take care of this guy. It’s great. Dotel is one of the guys I think everybody wants to play for. He’s played for a long time. He’s played for Houston, Oakland, the Yankees. He knows what he’s doing. I watched this guy pitching last year, and I feel great, because [the Cardinals] won the World Series last year [with him]. The Tigers have a chance to win the World Series.”
  • On his contract situation (he’s a free agent next winter): “You know, I have to play first. I have to do my job first. After that, I think about the contract.”

Actual workout note of the day: Again, Justin Verlander takes spring training seriously. How serious? He’ll shake off signs from his catcher, Alex Avila, if he wants to work on a particular pitch. And he did that a few times Sunday morning.

It was very much a game simulation for him, and he didn’t hide his frustration if a pitch didn’t go right. Still, as agitated as he can get, his stuff was evident.

Non-workout note of the day: Just when you thought Verlander’s offseason as a celebrity was over, he scores tickets to the NBA All-Star Game. Verlander managed to get courtside seats for the Sunday night showcase event in Orlando, and he brought Tigers catcher and noted Lakers fan Gerald Laird with him. I’m going to guess Verlander told Laird he couldn’t wear his Kobe Bryant jersey.

Quote of the day: “It’ll break my heart if he’s hurt again.” — Jim Leyland on Joel Zumaya, before learning Zumaya tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will need Tommy John surgery if he wants to try to pitch again.

Dombrowski: Tigers aren’t shopping Turner, not talking starters

Though the Tigers have been linked in rumors with talks on Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Detroit has no trade talks ongoing on any starting pitchers.

And while Dombrowski won’t call any of his top prospects untouchable, a term he rarely uses on anybody, he had it clear they aren’t looking to deal Jacob Turner. That doesn’t mean Turner isn’t available for the right deal, but it indicates they aren’t going out and shopping him for a veteran starter.

At this point, Dombrowski said, the Tigers haven’t reversed course on their plans to go after a fifth starter to compete with prospects such as Turner, Drew Smyly and Andy Oliver.

“Our plan hasn’t changed,” Dombrowski said. “We’re in a situation where we really have been consistent all along. We like our young guys. We feel that one of them will step up and be our fifth starter. Somehow [our approach] has been mistaken.”

Dombrowski said the Tigers have not called about any starting pitchers on the trade market. Any conversations on veterans starters, he said, have been initiated by other club.

“We are not looking,” he said. “There are some guys that are out there and are very good and clubs haved called us about them. But we have four veteran starters, and sometimes you have to break in young pitching.”

They’ll still listen, he said, but they’re not looking. And the inquiries that have been made, he said, haven’t gone far.

“Probably the only guy we had serious conversations on was Gio Gonzalez,” he said, “and we just weren’t prepared to pay the price. Other than that, we really haven’t talked about a starting pitcher.”

Dombrowski also said Al Alburquerque’s recent elbow surgery won’t put them in the market for another reliever. They signed Octavio Dotel knowing that Alburquerque was dealing with off and on injuries. Dombrowski didn’t rule out re-signing Joel Zumaya if he accepts a minor-league contract, but that nothing has changed on that front either.

Tigers, Dotel agree to terms on one-year deal

The Octavio Dotel deal is complete, pending a physical. It’s a one-year contract with an option for 2013. Danny Knobler of reported a $3 million salary for Dotel next year.

Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski declined comment on the deal, other than to say they have interest in him.