Octavio Dotel is just days away from setting a vagabond Major League Baseball record. The veteran relief pitcher is in camp with the Detroit Tigers, and when he makes his regular season debut in April it will mark his 13th team, a new record.
Drifting around the United States isn't easy, but Dotel tells the Detroit Free Press he's picked up a few tricks over the years to make it easier.
He never buys a home, always renting. Forget buying furniture, he looks for places fully furnished. Dotel doesn't bother changing his driver's license and never touches his car registration or license plates.
The Dominican Republic is home for Dotel and his wife, Massiel, during the off-season. (By the way, when quizzed by the Free Press, Dotel's bride couldn't name all the teams her husband has pitched for over his 13 seasons.) She's become a master of leaving town at a moment's notice. "I can pack everything in three days," she told the Freep. "Usually, there is someone with me, maybe his brother or his mother. I'm not alone. I have somebody help me."
Massiel, a former beauty pageant finalist in the Miss Dominican Republic contest and Miss Latin America, uses suitcases instead of boxes to pack up the family belongings when her husband is traded. She hauls all the suitcases to the airport rather than hiring a moving service. "I usually have 13 or 14 suitcases when we move," she said. "I'm a pro. After so many moves, I'm really good at it."
The couple have been married for six years with a 22-month-old son and a girl to be born from a planned C-section on March 1.
When you add up the Astros, A's, White Sox, Royals, Mets, Rockies, Pirates, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees, Blue Jays and Tigers Dotel will has pitched for 43% of the 30 big league teams. He logged the most games (302) with Houston and the fewest with Colorado (8) while winning a World Series in St. Louis last season.
The Dotels have rented an apartment in Detroit for the season, and hope to stay awhile.
"I have the record now," he said, "so I don't need any more teams."
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