So now the catcher has caught him — and has given his stamp of approval.

It's one thing for a general manager to hope that all goes well with a new closer, especially when that closer — if, indeed, he wins the job — will be a rookie.

It's another thing for a manager to feel good about the situation because all the reports he's read have been positive.

But when the man who will be on the receiving end of the pitches being thrown gives an adamant thumbs up — in this case, Alex Avila about Bruce Rondon after his first session of catching — it's a bit more substantial than keeping one's fingers crossed.

"I saw what everybody has been telling me," Avila said Wednesday about catching Rondon's first bullpen session of spring training.

"With the kind of stuff he has, he's a dynamic player. He's a game-changer."


"He wouldn't be in this position if people didn't think so."

Avila caught Rondon's eight-minute session Tuesday, and hopes to catch all of his bullpens before the exhibition games begin.

For one thing, Avila wants to help convince Rondon that all three of his pitches — fastball, change-up and slider — are major league quality and that he won't have to live by his fastball alone.

"He's going to need all three, because everyone in the league," said Avila, "is going to know he has a good fastball. But he knows those pitches will be effective because he has good command of them.

"Where I can help him the most is in knowing when to throw his change and his slider."

Avila then dissected each of Rondon's pitches.

From The Detroit News: