Yes, it was daring of the normally buttoned-down Dave Dombrowski to be so bold. He expected a 22-year-old kid minus a lick of big-league experience to dash from the Tigers bullpen and become his team's closer in 2013.

Dombrowski decided last autumn, after Jose Valverde had blown to pieces during the playoffs and ensured his departure from Detroit, that Bruce Rondon was good and the upcoming closer market was bad. Rafael Soriano was going to be too expensive. Joakim Soria, Ryan Madson and Brian Wilson had been hurt.

And even if any of the above were healthy and affordable, Dombrowski didn't like their arms and repertoires as much as the Tigers front-office boss appreciated Rondon's package of power pitches.

He still believes Rondon is his man. There will be walks. But there also will be strikeouts and splintered bat handles and probably not a lot of base hits if a man's track record and his early introduction in Florida are any evidence, which they certainly are.

Pop by four weeks from now for a final verdict. The only person who possibly can be more wired than Dombrowski to Rondon's auditions during this month's Grapefruit League trial is the man who probably isn't as convinced as his boss that Rondon is up to the job.

Leyland skeptical

Jim Leyland has been supportive but has taken a necessary wait-and-see disposition. Leyland differs from the crowd that believes just about any good back-end reliever can close a game. The Tigers manager sees it differently. He views from a dugout the sweating, the nerves, and the way in which ninth innings can change a pitcher's mechanics and a game's outcome in a nanosecond.

From The Detroit News: