Dotel stepping up in bigger role for Tigers

Dotel stepping up in bigger role for Tigers

ARLINGTON -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been praising Octavio Dotel and his role in the bullpen for a few weeks. Now that Leyland is trying to get his pitching staff through the recent struggles of Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit, that role might be a little bigger.

When Dotel sent down the Rangers in order on 13 pitches in the seventh inning Friday, Leyland decided to send him back out for the eighth. He gave up a hit but recovered for an eight-pitch scoreless inning, sending the game to closer Jose Valverde with a four-run lead.

It marked just the third time in 39 outings this year that Dotel has gone two full innings. Both of the other times came in late June, after Valverde had sprained his wrist and was out for a short spell.

"He's done a heck of a job," Leyland said.

What makes him work in that role, at age 38, Leyland said, is his aggressiveness.

"I think the best thing about him is he's got no fear," Leyland said. "If they hit it, they hit it, and he turns the page real good. He's a neat guy, but I think people don't realize how good of an arm he's got yet. He's got a good arm."