When a 39-year-old reliever misses almost the entire season because of an elbow injury that’s usually the end of the line, but Octavio Dotel has never been your average reliever.
Dotel was shut down last month after logging just 4.2 innings for the Tigers this season, but Bobby Nightengale of MLB.com reports that he received platelet-rich plasma injections after visiting with Dr. James Andrews and has started a rehab schedule.
Whether he can ultimately avoid surgery remains to be seen and Dotel will almost surely have to settle for a minor-league contract next year, but a 16th season (and possibly a 14th team) is possible.
Octavio Dotel has been out since mid-April with an elbow injury and just when he was starting to get close to returning to the Tigers he left a minor-league rehab appearance over the weekend with forearm soreness.
General manager Dave Dombrowski told Jason Beck of MLB.com that the Tigers are “basically shutting him down” for the season and “he’s just not 100 percent.”
And at age 39 this could be the end of the line for Dotel, who’s had a remarkably long career pitching for 13 teams in 15 seasons. After missing four-plus months Dotel obviously wasn’t an integral part of Detroit’s bullpen plans for the playoffs, but if healthy he could’ve been helpful as a right-handed specialist.
Pirates prospect Andrew Lambo leads the minor leagues in homers with 31, going deep 14 times in 58 games at Double-A and 17 times in 59 games at Triple-A. And now the 24-year-old outfielder is headed to the majors for the first time.
Pittsburgh has called up Lambo, who hit .284 with a .926 OPS in 117 total games this season. He was originally acquired from the Dodgers in the mid-2010 trade for Octavio Dotel and missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.
Obviously the power potential gives Lambo a chance to make a significant impact down the stretch, but he also struck out 123 times in 491 plate appearances and had relatively modest career numbers before this year’s breakout. He has experience in both corner outfield spots as well as first base, so Pirates manager Clint Hurdle could mix and match his lineup choices.
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.
Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel got a second opinion on his ailing right elbow from Dr. James Andrews. The good news is there is no structural damage, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck on Twitter. The 39-year-old, though, will continue resting for another six days. Dotel was placed on the disabled list on April 23, retroactive to the 20th.
Dotel posted an ugly 13.50 ERA in 4.2 innings to start the season, most of the damage being done in his last start on April 19, when he allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning to the Mariners. The Tigers re-signed the well-traveled veteran in the off-season on a one-year, $3.5 million deal after he was effective in the seventh and eighth innings in 2012.