Octavio Dotel has played for 13 teams in 15 seasons, but the 39-year-old reliever is struggling to make it back from an elbow injury that could mean the end of his career.
Dotel has already been on the disabled list for nearly two months with elbow inflammation and Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that he’s “experiencing more discomfort” while rehabbing. Or as manager Jim Leyland put it: “I don’t know what’s going on with Dotel. I think he’s just trying to see if he still has it. Hopefully he still has something left in the tank.”
Dotel was outstanding last season at age 38, throwing 58 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 62/12 K/BB ratio while topping a strikeout per inning for the 13th time in 14 seasons. Plus he tossed five shutout innings in the playoffs. And among all the right-handed pitchers in MLB history with at least 800 career innings Dotel’s has the highest strikeout rate at 10.82 per nine innings.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.