Bruce Rondon's debut in Detroit is on hold. Not because of anything that happened. Because rain postponed Tuesday's game against the Royals at Comerica Park. Game 1 of the series is today. Still, the reliever will get an opportunity — maybe as early as tonight — to show his worth as the team's closer after veteran Octavio Dotel was placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness. Rondon, with his 100 mph fastball, was a candidate to take over the closer's role after Jose Valverde was not re-signed during the offseason. (The Tigers, however, signed Valverde to a one-year deal Tuesday.) As for Rondon … "He's done pretty well," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Rondon, who has allowed five hits and no runs with nine strikeouts and two walks in 7.2 innings with Triple A Toledo. "It hasn't been a significant amount of time, so that being said, we'll just wait and see how things go up here. … We'll take a look and see what he looks like." Leyland hasn't decided on a specific role for Rondon, opting to see how he does his first few outings in the majors. "He's not going to be the closer to start with, but that doesn't mean he'll never close a game," Leyland said. "Right now, I want to break him in and get his feet wet in the big leagues and see what he looks like." With veterans Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque in the bullpen, there's no rush to put Rondon in a position to fail. "I'm going to get him out there and pitch him," Leyland said. "I don't want to paint myself in a corner because I don't know exactly how it's going to work out. "Maybe the sixth or seventh inning or something like that to start with." Dotel's struggles — 13.50 ERA in 4.2 innings with four strikeouts — became apparent the past few outings. "His elbow tightened up the one day and got a little bit better, then it was still there so we just decided: Let's shut him down a few days, then have him throw and send him out and see if we can get rid of this once and for all," Leyland said.
Tigers newcomer Bruce Rondon will be quickly pressed into action
Detroit News | Apr 24