DETROIT -- Right-handed reliever Brayan Villarreal, who has been dealing with inflammation in his pitching elbow, said prior to Friday's game against the Orioles that he's feeling much better after his four-day break and will be available to pitch in the series opener.
"I threw a bullpen today and I felt great," Villarreal said. "[I threw] about 15 pitches just to get ready for the game tonight."
After uncharacteristically allowing three earned runs in back-to-back games last weekend in Texas -- he hadn't allowed more than one run in an outing this season -- the 25-year-old reported arm fatigue. As a result he underwent an MRI; the procedure revealed the inflammation.
Villarreal said that it wasn't the first time he experienced the issue this season, but similar to last time, he believes the days off will help.
"I threw the last day in Minnesota, like 90 feet, then I rested yesterday and I threw again tonight," he said. "Everything is healthy, [the inflammation] is down. I had it before, like a month and a half ago, then I did the same thing: stop for three days and come back."
Villarreal hasn't appeared in a game since Aug. 12, when he yielded two runs in one-third of an inning against the Rangers. In 37 1/3 innings he's allowed 10 runs -- five this month -- and has a 2.41 ERA.