SEATTLE -- Octavio Dotel is back in the Tigers bullpen after sitting out the weekend games in Oakland with elbow soreness.
"He's ready to pitch," manager Jim Leyland said after Tuesday's win over the Mariners. "I'll be getting him in there soon."
A pregame throwing session went well enough that Dotel was available Tuesday night. Leyland opted to give him another day to rest, going to Al Alburquerque for the eighth inning with a 6-2 lead. With just six outs for the bullpen to cover after Doug Fister's strong outing, and Rick Porcello available out of the bullpen Tuesday, Leyland could afford to give Dotel the night off.
At this point, simply avoiding a stint on the disabled list with Dotel is a major relief for the Tigers, as they go into the late innings with a bullpen by committee.
Dotel hasn't pitched since Friday's West Coast trip opener in Oakland, when he retired two batters on just five pitches in the ninth inning and didn't return for the 10th.
Dotel's return comes as Porcello returns to the rotation. He'll begin preparing Wednesday for his next scheduled start this weekend against the Angels.
Valverde staying in Florida to work on comeback
SEATTLE -- Jose Valverde's road potentially back to Detroit is going to keep him in Lakeland, Fla., a little while longer. It sounds like he'll be in the Minors longer than that.
Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed the club's immediate plan for Valverde and the thought process going forward. Valverde's next outing will be Wednesday in an extended spring game. If all goes well, the plan is for Valverde to pitch Friday and Saturday for the Class A team in Lakeland.
No plans are set from there. Part of it depends on how Valverde pitches, but part of it also depends on the weather around the Midwest.
"It's a decision for us to make sure he continues to work," Dombrowski said during pregame batting practice Tuesday at Safeco Field. "He's doing fine. His progress has been fine. We just continue to analyze, and we've worked with him too, wanting to make sure where his comfort zone is."
Asked if Valverde needs to pitch at a higher level in the Minors before the Tigers make a decision, Dombrowski said, "Higher level than extended [spring workouts], yes. We're going to put him in A-ball for sure. But we have until May 8 to make a decision, so I would think at some point, [yes].
"At this point, we're not just going to leave him in Lakeland and make a decision. Our plans would be to move him up, but the weather has been so bad. We don't want him to go and join the Toledo club and all of a sudden be sitting there for three or four days in a shortened time period and not pitching because of the weather."
The May 8 date, it turns out, is the day Valverde can exercise the opt-out clause in his Minor League contract if he's not in the Majors by then. It was originally May 5 but was pushed back when visa issues delayed Valverde's arrival to Tigers extended spring camp.
Leyland keeps perspective after Boston tragedy
SEATTLE -- Like so many people around baseball, Tigers manager Jim Leyland saw the news reports of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon and was heartbroken. Like many, too, he said it makes the day-to-day issues around baseball seem trivial.
"It puts somebody getting on the manager about the lineup card, worrying about who you bring in as a relief pitcher, it kind of puts it all in perspective," Leyland said Tuesday. "I was sitting there thinking about that today.
"Here we are, playing this game. There's the good, the bad, the ugly, and all this stuff goes on, and it's your job and it's a very serious thing. But in reality, when you see what happened to that one family in particular, that's just gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, and this doesn't seem so important. It blows my mind what happened to that one poor family."
Leyland was referring to the family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, one of those killed by the explosions near the marathon's finish line in downtown Boston.
"It just breaks your heart, a bunch of innocent people having a good time," Leyland continued. "Some things, I guess you're just not supposed to understand."
• The Tigers were off on Monday, so they celebrated Jackie Robinson Day by wearing No. 42 for Tuesday's game against the Mariners.
• Tigers outfielder and former Mariner Matt Tuiasosopo returned to Safeco Field for the first time since Seattle released him in September 2011. Tuiasosopo grew up in the Seattle area, so it was a homecoming on multiple levels. He took teammates to a favorite restaurant downtown on Monday's off-day after visiting family, including his brother, former NFL quarterback and current University of Washington quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo.
• Tigers catching prospect James McCann completed a four-hit game Tuesday by driving in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning in Double-A Erie's 9-6 win at Bowie. McCann has four multi-hit performances in his first 10 games, pushing his average on the season to .317.