One of the biggest Tigers mysteries this season has been the status of right-handed reliever Al Alburquerque.
Alburquerque has missed the entire season thus far after undergoing surgery to fix a stress fracture in his elbow during the offseason. Currently he’s been rehabbing in Triple-A Toledo and according to James Schmehl of Mlive.com, Alburquerque could be back with the Tigers before September.
Reports coming out of Toledo suggest Alburquerque has significantly strengthened his right elbow, which required surgery in December to stabilize a non-displaced stress fracture.
That was apparent when he struck out five in 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the Mud Hens on Wednesday night. He now has a 3.18 ERA an 8:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 5 2/3 innings for Toledo.
It was the fourth appearance he’s made in Toledo and his eighth overall since being assigned July 24. Now, it appears the ball is in Detroit’s court.
Getting Alburquerque back sooner rather than later would be very much welcomed for the Tigers. This is especially the case considering Villarreal’s recent elbow issues and the struggles of Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit.
The Tigers can keep Alburquerque on the rehab assignment for a total of 30 day. And it’s possible the Tigers bring up guys like Luis Marte or Jose Ortega however Schmehl believes that the addition of Alburquerque would make the most sense.