DETROIT –- The Tigers appear to have avoided some bad news on a night filled with good news for the bullpen.
Reliever Al Alburquerque – who has been dominant in his last four outings – said he “felt something pull in the groin” of his right leg, but added that it was nothing “serious.”
He was delivering his second pitch to Kansas City Royals cleanup hitter Eric Hosmer in the seventh inning on Wednesday night when the problem occurred.
Alburquerque proceeded to walk Hosmer after striking out both Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler on nasty sliders they flailed at for the third strikes. Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand then trotted out to the mound with manager Jim Leyland trailing him.
“I was suspicious,” Leyland said.
Alburquerque said he told Rand he was OK, but then walked Lorenzo Cain on four straight pitches. The last pitch was a 90 mph fastball that was well below the speed he’d been reaching, and Leyland immediately brought in Joaquin Benoit to replace Alburquerque.
“But I don’t expect this to be anything,” Leyland said. “We were very fortunate. Alburquerque probably will not be available (Thursday), but we’ll see.”
Alburquerque said he will be available in the final game of the series.
“I will be ready for tomorrow with (Justin) Verlander pitching,” Alburquerque said. “I feel it’s nothing serious.”
He did not believe the cold temperatures – 39 degrees when he was pitching – contributed to the tightness he experienced in the groin area.