DETROIT -- The Tigers had just about written off the season for Octavio Dotel, who has been on the disabled list since mid-April with repeated bouts of right elbow inflammation. Finally, however, they might have a return for him in sight.
"Dotel is feeling good," manager Jim Leyland said Sunday morning. "He's throwing off a mound."
Dotel is back throwing in workouts at the Tigers' Spring Training complex in Lakeland, Fla. Leyland didn't have much more information than that, but the reports he has received have been positive.
"I know I always sound cold, but it sounds like it's very encouraging," Leyland said.
For a manager who's usually skeptical about recovery timetables, for Leyland to even acknowledge encouragement is a pretty decent sign. Leyland was upbeat enough to acknowledge the possibility that Dotel could come back and act like a late-season trade acquisition.
"If he could come back like the Dotel of the second half of last year, that would be a nice trade at the deadline that you didn't have to make," Leyland said. "But I can't predict that, and I'm not saying that's going to happen."
Dotel's absence this year has had a cascade effect through Detroit's bullpen, from added workload on Al Alburquerque to a Major League role for Bruce Rondon.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.