As was reported by the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Tigers’ 2011 rookie phenom Alburquerque underwent surgery Thursday to repair a stress fracture in his pitching elbow that was discovered after experiencing af pitching in winter ball.
A virtual unknown before last season, Alburquerque was signed as a free agent to the Tigers 40 man roster and was a significant part of the Tigers’ bullpen for much of 2011. He led all AL relievers in batting average against and posted an unbelieveable 13.92 strikeouts per 9 innings. Despite his dominance, the Tigers actually played their best baseball late in the season after Alburquerque’s health had caused him to be much less of a presence in the bullpen.
Last week’s signing of reliever Octavio Dotel has become all the more vital since he’ll fill the void that was lost last season when Alburquerque went down with forearm issues and a fluke concussion late in the year. The Dotel signing, Nationals prospect Collin Balester being acquired for Ryan Perry, Phil Coke’s move back to the bullpen, the deadline deal for David Pauley and undoubted loss of Joel Zumaya means that the Tigers bullpen will look significantly different to start next season.