Tight hip isn't expected to keep Alburquerque out

Tight hip isn't expected to keep Alburquerque out

DETROIT -- Reliever Al Alburquerque said Thursday morning his hip, which tightened up on him during the seventh inning Wednesday night, feels fine now and he should be able to pitch once he loosens it up.

Manager Jim Leyland wasn't sure about Alburquerque's status, but gave him the day off in Thursday's 8-3 loss to the Royals.

Alburquerque was nearly finished with his second inning, having retired the first two batters in the seventh, when Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand noticed something amiss.

"He got a knot in his hip," Leyland said Wednesday night. "Fortunately it was nothing with his arm, but he kind of felt it on a pitch in the flexor area and then it grabbed him. I was real suspicious when I saw him throwing to the last batter."

Alburquerque said he was fine and continued to pitch, but left following his second straight two-out walk, as Leyland opted for Joaquin Benoit against the Royals' Mike Moustakas.

Alburquerque has recorded at least five outs and 20 pitches in each of his last three outings, but has shown no ill effects of the increased workload. He has had at least two days of rest between each of those outings. His 26 pitches on Wednesday were a season high.

"I don't expect it to be anything," Leyland said of the injury. "It's not the arm, and certainly that's a good sign."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.