Missing since April, Octavio Dotel getting closer to return to Tigers
DETROIT — Octavio Dotel is closer to pitching in a big-league game than he’s been anytime since April.
The veteran reliever, who has spent most of the season on the disabled list, battling elbow inflammation in his pitching arm, had his injury rehabilitation assignment transferred from Class A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo on Monday.
“He’s doing OK. Get to see him against a little better competition now,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Dotel threw a scoreless inning for the Mud Hens Monday, striking out two batters (both looking), and giving up just a ground-rule double.
Now that the elbow’s healed, Leyland said Dotel’s fastball has been registering between 89-92 mph, slightly below his career average, as well as where he’d been a year ago (92.3 mph).
“Sometimes you can get fooled by — I think he’s been 89, 90, 91, 92 (mph) — sometimes you can get fooled, because when they get to the big-league atmosphere, they have a tendency to find a little extra mileage. I don’t know if that’s the case or not,” Leyland said.
“I think adrenaline is a factor with a guy like Dotel in a big-league scenario. He knows what it’s all about up here.”
Dotel gave up four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched over five appearances for the Flying Tigers, allowing nine hits and striking out two. Five of those hits, and all four earned runs, came in one outing against Dunedin on Aug. 14, but he’s thrown two scoreless innings since then.
The 39-year-old Dotel made 57 regular-season appearances, and three in the playoffs for Detroit a year ago, but appeared in just six games earlier this season, posting a 13.50 ERA before being placed on the disabled list retroactively to April 20.
Since the beginning, Dotel’s been in Lakeland, Fla., the whole time, whether working at the Tigers spring training facility or rehabbing with the Flying Tigers.
“Yeah, I’m sure he’s had enough of TigerTown,” Leyland said.