Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals activated Octavio Dotel on Tuesday and said they would ease him into the closer's role.
"What we're going to do with Dotel is probably pitch him in the seventh, eighth, maybe the sixth," manager Buddy Bell said before Tuesday night's game against the Cleveland Indians. "The problem with just putting him into the closer's role right now is that we're not really sure of his durability.
"He hasn't pitched in a while, so putting him in that role, I didn't think was the right thing to do."
The right-hander, who has pitched sparingly since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery in mid-2005, has been out because of a strained left oblique muscle since the last week of spring training.
The Royals signed him to a one-year, $5 million deal in the offseason, looking to shore up a bullpen that blew a majors-worst 31 saves last year.
"We plan on eventually getting him into the closer's role, but it could be one week, two weeks, I don't know," Bell said. "It all depends on how comfortable he is and how comfortable we are with his durability."
Dotel made three rehab appearances for Double-A Wichita, going 0-1 with two saves and a 3.00 earned-run average. Without him, the Royals have blown nine of 22 save opportunities.