Dave Dombrowski was busy Wednesday walking a fine line familiar to baseball general managers. Even as the Tigers scramble to find a bullpen closer in the wake of rookie Bruce Rondon's struggles, Dombrowski was calm and upbeat, portraying concerns about Rondon as more of a public and media fixation than anything that has the Tigers worried. "Let's see how he does," Dombrowski said during a conversation in his office overlooking Marchant Stadium. "I realize it (the closer issue) will get a lot of attention. But the reality is, it (camp) still has a long haul to go." Dombrowski was referring to Rondon's early Grapefruit League work that has seen the right-handed pitcher rack up a 7.36 ERA in four outings. Rondon never was officially named closer heading into the 2013 season as the Tigers sought to replace the departed Jose Valverde. But he was plainly considered by Dombrowski and the front office to be a blessed candidate who would win the job during camp despite not having thrown a big league pitch. That scenario could yet play out, even as Rondon has this week been confined to the bullpen. Pitching coach Jeff Jones has been smoothing mechanical problems the Tigers believe are at the heart of Rondon's twisted numbers: 3-2/3 innings, five hits, and five walks. On the plus side are Rondon's six strikeouts, the product of a lightning fastball and a power package the Tigers have loved since his breakthrough season in 2012. "Before spring training, I said we'd be asked about our closer every single day," Dombrowski said after the Tigers beat the Blue Jays, 4-1, in Lakeland. "This is not anything that we didn't anticipate."
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski remains coy on closer issue
Detroit News | Mar 7