In time, they're hoping he can get back here in uniform. In Saturday's case, though, he was here to see team doctors about tenderness in his surgically repaired right elbow. X-rays and other test results showed no damage, and he was cleared to resume his Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo.
Alburquerque has been on rehab since July 24, including the past 2 1/2 weeks with the Mud Hens. He has pitched only once in the past week, however, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings on three hits with five strikeouts Wednesday at Syracuse.
Alburquerque said he felt tenderness in his elbow after that outing. In accordance with what the team medical staff told him before he went on rehab, he reported it and flew to Detroit to have it checked out.
Alburquerque is expected to rejoin the Mud Hens on Sunday and pitch on Monday. Time is essential at this point, because he has just four days left on his rehab assignment before the Tigers have to make a decision to activate him, option him to the Minors or keep him on the disabled list without pitching.
At this late stage of the season, though, any lingering concern might be enough for the Tigers to shelve the idea of his return for the stretch run and focus on getting him ready for next year.