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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Discretion is better part of valor for Dotel, who heads to DL with elbow inflammation

DETROIT — Discretion is the better part of valor, even if you’re a competitor who never wants to say the words: “I can’t.”

Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel agreed to head to the 15-day disabled list, hoping that a little time away from throwing a baseball will allow the lingering inflammation in his pitching elbow to clear up for good.

“We just were talking about it after the game Sunday, and we just agree, each one, for my best, for the team best, to help everyone. I think that was a great idea. They ask me what I think, and I just decided, I’m probably not at my best feeling, throwing-wise, because I don’t have my good feeling, the way I would love to feel, when I come in the game to throw,” he said.

“I was trying to get through, but it’s early. I don’t think we have to push that hard, when we have guys that can do the job, also, in the minor leagues. We just decided to make sure (I’m) healthy 100 percent, and just go from there, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Dotel has had an X-ray on the elbow, but has not yet had an MRI. He doesn’t even think it’s necessary, as long as the doctor can give him something to get rid of the inflammation.

The DL move — which allowed the Tigers to bring up rookie reliever Bruce Rondon — was made retroactive to Saturday, a day after Dotel last appeared in a game for the Tigers. After shutting it down for a few days, the plan is for him to play catch sometime next week, then go out and pitch somewhere in the minors on a rehabilitation assignment.

“We just decided, let’s shut him down a few days, then have him throw, then send him out and see if we can get rid of this, once and for all,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “It wasn’t coming out real good, as you know, and there’s a reason for that, so we said let’s go ahead and try to get it right.”

That’s obvious just by a perusal of the stats that Dotel has put up in 4 2/3 innings stretched over six appearances early this season, the seven earned runs allowed leaving him with a 13.50 ERA.

Dotel certainly didn’t have to say that he was ailing for the Tigers to pick up on that fact.

“Well, they kind of know. They saw me last year, the way I pitched, and they’ve been watching me this year, and they kind of know, it’s not the same Dotel, and they just come to me and talk to me. Even (though) I can compete with what I have now, but I gotta be smart. It’s early. We (are) in April. I don’t think I need to force myself, in this situation, to keep going the way I am, when there’s five months left,” Dotel said.

“You can’t be dumb. You gotta be smart, and think about the whole situation, and your situation, and the team situation. I think for the team, for the best, is me having the DL, and bring somebody healthy.”

It wasn’t even so much a physical problem as much as it was a mental one. The pain wasn’t a sharp one, but more of a persistent dull pain.

“You have inflammation, you can pitch, but it’s in your head. When you’re coming in the game, even though you don’t want to think about it, you have that in your head. The uncomfortable feeling is there. It never goes away. It’s always going to be there. Even it doesn’t matter the situation you are in the game, sometimes. You think it’s going to go out of your head, the inflammation, but it’s always there. Doesn’t matter the feeling, or the situation (in) the game,” he said, admitting it’s a sense of relief not to have to worry about his status on a daily basis.

“Yes. You don’t wanna have that in your head. You want to feel like ‘I’m ready to go.’ You don’t wanna have anything in your head, ‘How’s it going to be today? How’s it going to be tomorrow?’ And that’s one of the things I was dealing with. Hopefully, in the next 10 days coming up, I feel good, and I don’t have to think about it. I just gotta think about throwing strikes, and getting people out.”

Rain out will be made up later
Tuesday’s game between the Royals and Tigers was rained out, and will be made up at a yet-to-be-determined later date. The Royals return to Detroit for a pair of three-game series, Aug. 16-18 and Sept. 13-15. ... The Tigers pushed their starters back for the remaining two games of the series, while the Royals skipped Wednesday’s probable starter, Luis Mendoza. Max Scherzer (1-0, 2.84 ERA) will face Wade Davis (2-0, 2.25) in Wednesday evening’s game, while Justin Verlander (2-2, 2.13) will face James Shields (1-2, 3.00) in Thursday’s matinee. ... The Tigers’ pitching staff is second in the American League in strikeouts with 179, leaving them 11 shy of tying last year’s club record for strikeouts in the month of April.


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