May 1, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) pitches in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
According to multiple reports — see the below Tweet by Matthew Mowery of the Oakland Press – the Detroit Tigers have announced the recall of reliever Bruce Rondon from AAA Toledo.
The Tigers have not yet announced a corresponding move. According to Tom Gage (et al.), they’ll announce a move closer to game time. My guess is that Evan Reed or Darin Downs is geting sent down, but it’s also probably possible that Phil Coke gets optioned to straighten things out (as Patrick O’Kennedy suggested on Bless You Boys).
Perhaps also Anibal Sanchez is ready to come off the DL to make his next start, but the indication the other day after he tossed a three-inning simulated game was that he would be going out on a rehab assignment next week.
Rondon had struggled in two previous stints in Detroit – a whole 2.1 innings worth of work – but he’s been getting the results in AAA. In his 30 appearances this year with the Toledo Mud Hens (29.2 innings), Rondon has struck out 40 batters, walked 13, saved 14 games, and accumulated an ERA of just 1.52.
Rondon probably isn’t coming up to assume any sort of closer’s role – though it could turn into that if he’s successful – but adding an arm like his to the mix could go a long way towards solidifying the seventh and eighth innings. The Tigers have a good-enough if not better-than-they-could-acquire closer in Joaquin Benoit, but that leaves no one else besides Drew Smyly that Jim Leyland can trust in the seventh and eighth innings of close games.
We were all mad when Leyland brought in Phil Coke to pitch to righties in the tenth inning on Thursday, but his other options were Darin Downs, Evan Reed, and Luke Putkonen. And, yeah, while I would have rather seen Putkonen out there, you can understand that Jim didn’t have (m)any good options.