Octavio Dotel, who missed all of this season with elbow problems, has decided to retire rather than try another comeback at age 40, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
Dotel had a remarkable career, pitching 15 seasons for 13 different teams despite not debuting until age 25, not finding his full-time home in the bullpen until age 27, and often dealing with arm troubles.
Armed with a good fastball and sharp-breaking slider, Dotel went from struggling as a starter to making 724 relief appearances with a 3.32 ERA and .207 opponents’ batting average while racking up 955 strikeouts in 760 innings.
His career strikeout rate of 10.8 per nine innings is the best in the history of baseball for right-handed pitchers with at least 900 innings. Directly behind him on the list are Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.