Dotel's season appears to be in question

Dotel's season appears to be in question

KANSAS CITY -- Has Octavio Dotel thrown his last pitch for the Tigers, or any team for that matter?

It was out of the question for most of these seven weeks Dotel has been on the disabled list. Even now, it seems unlikely he's finished. Yet with the 39-year-old reportedly experiencing more discomfort in his right elbow while rehabbing in Florida, it's a question without an obvious answer.

At the very least, Dotel's 2013 season appears to be in question.

"I don't know what's going on with Dotel," manager Jim Leyland said. "I think he's just trying to see if he still has it."

Some days, Leyland said, Dotel feels fine and can play catch. Other days, the elbow bothers him. Dotel had progressed at one point in Florida to throwing off a mound, but he is now back to playing catch.

Next Thursday will mark the two-month mark since Dotel went on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. The Tigers still have no timetable for a return, which essentially leaves Leyland to build his bullpen without having a veteran right-hander to count on in middle relief behind Joaquin Benoit.

Dotel is in the final year of his contract. The Tigers picked up his contract option for this season after he played a vital role in shoring up the bullpen last year. It marked the first time the well-traveled righty stayed with the same club from one year to the next year since 2008-09 with the White Sox.

He'll turn 40 in November, and a lost season would put his next stop in serious question. So, too, would surgery, but multiple MRI exams have shown no structural damage.

Leyland is hoping it doesn't come to that.

"Hopefully he still has something left in the tank," Leyland said.

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.