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  1. #1
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    Default Villarreal Shutdown




    Villarreal shelved by Tigers for rest of winter
    Right-hander experiences elbow soreness while pitching for Venezuela
    DETROIT -- One of Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski's favorite tidbits during last month's Winter Meetings was the high regard for Brayan Villarreal. One evaluator with another club, he said, told him Villarreal was the most promising young reliever he had seen all year.

    Villarreal's potential, however, is only that if he can't stay on the mound. That's why the Tigers are taking such caution with him after his second bout of elbow soreness since the summer.

    The Tigers cleared the hard-throwing 25-year-old right-hander to pitch winter ball in his native Venezuela with the idea of getting him about 15 innings, enough to work on some things with his delivery and get a head start on next spring while still allowing him an offseason of rest.

    Vilarreal joined the Caribes de Anzoategui in early December and pitched in three games, hurling three scoreless innings and allowing one hit with a run and a strikeout. He complained about some arm problems in mid-December and was sent back to the U.S. to have his elbow examined by team doctors, according to the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. The tests revealed inflammation, but no structural damage.

    The Tigers confirmed Villarreal was examined with nothing serious revealed. Though Villarreal was reportedly expected to be sidelined until Jan. 2, the Tigers and Villarreal agreed to shut him down for the rest of the winter and have him focus on being ready for Spring Training, rather than have him return cold for the Venezuelan League playoffs.

    Villarreal was also diagnosed with elbow inflammation in August. He returned to action after six days and picked up where he left off in his torrid summer with some very good outings, but struggled through September. When the Tigers made out their postseason roster, they left Villarreal off the seven-man bullpen in favor of lefty Drew Smyly and sinkerballer Rick Porcello, both starters for most of the season.

    Despite that decision, it's difficult to overestimate how important Villarreal could be to Detroit's 2013 bullpen, especially if the club keeps its relief corps as is without another move. His fastball averaged 97.1 mph last season, according to fangraphs.com, and he honed with his slider into an effective second pitch despite throwing the slider less often.

    Villarreal allowed 16 earned runs on 38 hits over 54 2/3 innings, good for a 2.63 ERA and a .201 batting average. His 66 strikeouts ranked second among Tigers relievers behind only Joaquin Benoit.

    On a team that didn't have a consistent lefty reliever, Villarreal held left-handed hitters to a .190 batting average (12-for-63, 19 walks, 18 strikeouts).

    If the Tigers stick with their bullpen as is, adding only top relief prospect Bruce Rondon, Villarreal has a chance to play a major role in middle relief, potentially even getting some setup work if Benoit or lefty Phil Coke get closing opportunities. That's a big reason why the Tigers have been deliberate in his offseason work, and why Detroit isn't taking any chances with him now after his second elbow flareup.
    Tigers shut down right-hander Brayan Villarreal with elbow soreness | MLB.com: News
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  2. #2
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    Default

    This is really, really, really bad.

  3. #3
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    Sounds entirely precautionary at this point. But you never know with the elbow.
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  4. #4
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    It's really, really, really, really, really, really just January.

    If BV fell off the face of the earth, there'd be time and money to replace him. Not great, but not worried. I'd be much more concerned if it were any of our big 4 starters.
    GO TIGERS

  5. #5
    mickeyb105 is offline MotownSports Fan
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    Might have to agree with Wheat here, BV getting shut down in early Jan is not a good thing for him or the team. Having him and Al Al healthy at the same time would really beef up the bullpen.
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    Nobody disagrees that it would be really bad if he was injured, but for all we know he'll be perfectly healthy when the report. I'm not getting too worked up until there's something that says he's hurt. It's precautionary at this point.
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    Seriously, it would be really bad?

  8. #8
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    A little too early to be gettin' the panties in a bundle.
    It's pronounced Canada, and no, I haven't.

  9. #9
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    This is villarreally bad.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelton View Post
    This is villarreally bad.
    Boo this man.

  11. #11
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    Actually, losing him for the season wouldn't concern me too much.
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    Losing a reliever isn't the end of the world, but Villareal is damn good. If fully healthy, he should probably close.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by T&P_Fan View Post
    Seriously, it would be really bad?
    I think the issue here is how many reallys do we put in front of bad.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefunk View Post
    It's really, really, really, really, really, really just January.

    If BV fell off the face of the earth, there'd be time and money to replace him. Not great, but not worried. I'd be much more concerned if it were any of our big 4 starters.
    I just meant it's really (x3) bad for Brayan. Not relative to the team. I don't care if it's just January. They wouldn't shut him down if there wasn't at the very least a small problem. I'm no doctor (although I have had about a billion pitching related arm injuries), so I won't speculate about the severity, but for someone who has had elbow trouble in the past, it's not good to see this.
    Last edited by alwaysthrowheat; 01-04-2013 at 01:19 PM.

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    It would be bad.......if he crossed the streams.

    But, in the garden, if the roots are not strong, the garden will not thrive.

    Ok?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysthrowheat View Post
    I just meant it's really (x3) bad for Brayan. Not relative to the team. I don't care if it's just January. They wouldn't shut him down if there wasn't at the very least a small problem. I'm no doctor (although I have had about a billion pitching related arm injuries), so I won't speculate about the severity, but for someone who has had elbow trouble in the past, it's not good to see this.
    And he has already had TJ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gehringer_2 View Post
    And he has already had TJ.
    And shoulder and elbow soreness/inflammation two other times in the last 18 months.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysthrowheat View Post
    And shoulder and elbow soreness/inflammation two other times in the last 18 months.
    which means that he has a history of injuries and the team is well aware of his "fragility".
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  19. #19
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    And he's also had soreness before and bounced right back from it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redshark63 View Post
    which means that he has a history of injuries and the team is well aware of his "fragility".

    He's Italian?

  21. #21
    Longgone is offline MotownSports Fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysthrowheat View Post
    This is really, really, really bad.
    It may mean nothing. Tendinitis is very common in pitchers and doesn't usually signify a chronic or underlying injury. It can be a bugger to get rid of, though.

  22. #22
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    Dating back to his Lakeland days, Brayan has always had a "violent" delivery and combined with his slight build, injuries will always be a concern. That delivery was one of the reasons if not the reason he was moved from the rotation.

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  23. #23
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    This bullpen cannot afford to lose proven arms. If BV is OK, then fine, but if we lose him for the season, then Al Al or Rondon or someone else is going to have to pick up the slack...that's hardly a sure thing by any stretch.

    Bullpens are always crapshoots, and the Tigers have spent enough on theirs IMHO, so here's where they need to hope that they can replace a good youngster with another youngster or someone else's spare part.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longgone View Post
    It may mean nothing. Tendinitis is very common in pitchers and doesn't usually signify a chronic or underlying injury. It can be a bugger to get rid of, though.
    When someone has had arm problems shut them down 3 times (including TJ), it's never a good sign when they're shut down. This has happened enough times to me personally.

  25. #25
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    I'm just not sure Villarreal is as good as he is being made out to be.
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    Who's making him out to be great?
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  27. #27
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    Who said anything about "great"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelton View Post
    I'm just not sure Villarreal is as good as he is being made out to be.
    That might be true, but as currently constructed, it appears that he was being relied upon to serve a significant role in the 2013 bullpen. So to that end, it's a significant loss, if he can't perform.

    And it's probably exaserbated, in my opinion, by a rather weak farm system with no replacements that are easily identifiable. All the more reason to sign another veteran reliever, if the market comes to us on a short term deal.
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  29. #29
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    Rondon
    Dotel
    Benoit
    Coke
    ABQ

    Not exactly seeing the significant role for a 4 era pitcher missing from that list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelton View Post
    Not exactly seeing the significant role for a 4 era pitcher missing from that list.
    So you are saying Coke has no role...
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    I said missing role. Coke's mediocrity is accounted for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelton View Post
    This is villarreally bad.
    I laughed out loud.

  33. #33
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    I am surprised at the lack of respect with Brayan's abilities. I don't get the baseball package so I didn't get to see him pitch to often but his stats are as follows : 54 IP 38 H 61 K 26 BB with a 2.63 ERA. The one time I did see him blow a game it seemed that he was overthrowing in a big spot. As for Bruce Rondon, while he was in Lakeland, I saw him have a hard time when the other team started yelling at him in Spanish, and he lost it. While the talent is obviously there, don't discount the maturity factor as he will be 22 when the season starts. His winter ball stats are 16 IP, 16 H 19 K and 6 BB with a 4.41 ERA with 5 of the earned runs coming in the same appearance.

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