Is David Dombrowski being a bit too blase about the Detroit Tigers bullpen? I like Bruce Rondon as an in-house piece, but even if he pans out magnificently, I'd consider the Tigers' bullpen a bit thin, especially near the back end.
Speaking of Rondon, however, he had his first outing in spring training yesterday against the Toronto Blue Jays... Here's the story: http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ss..._rondon_2.html
Detroit Tigers' Bruce Rondon displays 'electric stuff,' good dose of wildness in first outing of spring
By Chris Iott
February 23, 2013
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Bruce Rondon threw hard. He was wild at times. But he settled down and got the job done.
The rookie right-hander for the Detroit Tigers got himself into trouble Saturday afternoon in the fifth inning of a 10-3 loss to Toronto, but he bailed himself out by striking out the final two batters he faced with an overpowering fastball.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila has caught Rondon before, but never in a game. He was impressed with what he saw.
"There were a few fastballs that I did not see that ended up in my glove -- I don't know how," Avila said. "He's got electric stuff. I'm sure he was a little nervous his first time out. He was a little wild, but he really settled down those last two guys.
"He's so explosive. It was fun to catch. By far, he's probably one of the best arms I've ever seen."
After retiring the first batter he faced on a weak foul ball to Miguel Cabrera at third base, Rondon went to 3-2 counts on the next two hitters he faced. He surrendered a walk to the first and a double to the wall to the second. That put runners on second and third with one out.
Rondon struck out J.P Arencibia on three pitches to bring Josh Thole to the plate.
"When Thole came up, he's like, 'Man, he looks like he's throwing hard,' " Avila said. "I was like, 'I have no idea where it's going.' As a hitter, you don't want to hear that, especially with a guy throwing that hard."
Rondon fell behind 2-1, but he battled back to strike out Thole, who swung and missed at a fastball for strike three. Rondon did a bit of a skip as he left the mound and headed to the dugout.
"He threw mostly fastballs," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "As we get into it a little deeper, he'll make some adjustments and have to throw some other stuff. For his first time out, I thought he did fine."
Rondon said he felt good about his first outing and didn't feel any nervousness even when he got into the jam. He threw 24 pitches, 14 for strikes and 10 for balls. He threw 21 fastballs, two changeups and one slider, Avila said.
"When you throw that hard, it's hard to mix those pitches in there, because he has such a good fastball," Avila said. "He has an above-average changeup and an above-average slider. But the thing is, he will have to use those in the big leagues.
"Professional hitters, when he's a little wild like he was the first couple hitters, they can hit 100. That's when his other pitches are going to be very valuable to him."
Avila made one trip to the mound to go over signs, but other than that said he was planning to let Rondon sink or swim.
"He was pretty jacked up," Avila said. "I didn't want to go out there and say anything. I just wanted him to get this first outing out of the way. He made the adjustments he needed to and he got composed after that to get the last two outs and really did some nice pitching."