DETROIT -- Joaquin Benoit rescued the Tigers in the seventh inning of Saturday's 4-3 walk-off win over the Yankees by stranding two runners after Phil Coke had allowed back-to-back singles. Benoit did not come out for the eighth inning, however, leaving Octavio Dotel to face left-handed hitters with a one-run lead.
There's a reason for that: Benoit, it turned out, became the latest injured Tigers player.
"I'm more worried about Benoit than I am anybody else right now," manager Jim Leyland said, "because when he threw that pitch that went up against the screen, when [Alex Rodriguez] called time and he threw the pitch, he got some tightness there. It tightened up on him pretty badly. So that's the one that's got me concerned, because we've been pretty much snake-bitten."
Leyland pointed to his forearm to indicate where Benoit's tightness popped up. That kind of arm injury will get any manager concerned.
Benoit has been on a roll of late, striking out 23 batters over 15 1/3 innings in his last 16 appearances, while allowing four runs on 11 hits. He has been the strongest part of the Tigers' late-inning relief corps. Leyland has survived with a short bench the last several days, but he would have a tougher time protecting leads without Benoit.
The Tigers should know more about Benoit's situation on Sunday morning. With ace Justin Verlander starting, they're a little better equipped to give Benoit a day to rest and recuperate if need be.
Leyland did not put any blame on Rodriguez for calling timeout when he did.
"I don't know that there's a late time call," Leyland said. "It really doesn't make any difference. I'm not looking to blame anybody; it's just one of those things that happened."