Much like a superhero, Octavio Dotel has spent the majority of his 15-year
career being summoned to save the day in the most critical of situations.
Unfortunately, he may have finally met his kryptonite. The stress of 758
appearances, one Tommy John surgery, and countless two-strike sliders has left
the Dominican right-hander with elbow inflammation and limited his ability to
pitch in 2013.
Treatment and rehabilitation has thus far proved unsuccessful and after
nearly two months on the disabled list, Dotel is still experiencing soreness in
his right elbow. The Detroit Tigers brass has been mum on the subject of his
balky elbow, and manager Jim Leyland recently admitted that he had no clue
regarding Dotel's injury progress adding that "I think he's just trying to
see if he still has it. Hopefully he still has something left in the
Now approaching 40 years of age, the prospect of another elbow surgery does
not inspire confidence for the playing future of the veteran reliever. While
the idea that he may yet contribute in 2013 has not been completely abandoned,
the threat of another surgery looms large and may serve as a sad epilogue to a
If Dotel is forced to call it a career, it will come on the heels of a fine
2012 season where he provided stability as arguably the Tigers most effective
reliever. In 57 games, he finished with a 3.57 ERA, 2.30 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP,
while averaging 9.62 SO/9 innings. In his absence, the Tigers have struggled to
fill the late inning void caused by his injury and have been forced turn to the
likes of Bruce Rondon, Al Alburquerque, and Brayan Villarreal whom have all
failed to replicate his success and found themselves demoted to Triple-A Toledo
at one time or another.
A season bereft of the familiar spectre of Octavio Dotel, seems just a bit
odd. After all, he's pitched for nearly as many teams as he has seasons in the
majors. With his trademarked high socks, electric stuff, and exuberant personality
he's embraced his role as one of the great characters in the game. If nothing
else, he’s been near impossible to ignore. His mouth has brought upon a degree
of negative attention over the years from his claim that he would pitch free of
a charge for the Oakland Athletics after losing the majority of 2005 to Tommy
John surgery, to openly questioning the leadership capabilities of Miguel Cabrera during last season title run in Detroit. Combined with his productivity
on the mound, it's been hard to ignore neither the pitcher nor the man.
With his career in jeopardy, Octavio Dotel is faced with his own baseball
mortality. However given his reputation, it would be no surprise if the
enigmatic reliever refuses to go down quietly
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