Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer returns from disabled list, Bruce Rondon to Triple-A

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 09: Michael Fulmer #32 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the second inning at Progressive Field on July 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 09: Michael Fulmer #32 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the second inning at Progressive Field on July 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers players will see a familiar face on Monday as Michael Fulmer returns to the team. Reliever Bruce Rondon was optioned to make room on the roster.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer is officially back.

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year is making his return from the disabled in time to take the hill tonight in Texas against the Rangers.

Fulmer previously missed two starts, but is back in the rotation. The Tigers have the slimmest of playoff odds at this point, but the starter’s return certainly helps.

Detroit announced the move in a tweet on the team’s official Twitter account on Sunday night.

The Tigers tweeted:

"“Following today’s game, the #Tigers optioned RHP Bruce Rondon to Toledo. RHP Michael Fulmer will be activated from the 10-day DL tomorrow.”"

Fulmer currently leads all Detroit pitchers with a 3.3 WAR this season. Only Justin Upton has a higher WAR among Detroit Tigers players on the season.

All told, Fulmer owns a 3.59 ERA, a 3.43 FIP, a 4.03 SIERA and a 4.11 FIP. He’s only striking out 6.41 batters per nine innings, but is still throwing in the mid-90s.

He’s done an excellent job limiting damage in his sophomore season, with just 0.54 home runs and 1.99 walks allowed per nine innings.

One of the more encouraging aspects of Fulmer’s second campaign in the Majors is that he’s already upped his WAR from his rookie season by 0.3 in 19.1 fewer innings.

Of course, his WAR could conceivably go down as the year progresses. However, that doesn’t seem likely given Fulmer’s propensity to log quality starts.

Related Story: Starting in 2018, perhaps a bit sooner, Tigers bullpen will get younger

Bruce Rondon

Making way for Michael Fulmer on the roster is Bruce Rondon, who was optioned to Triple-A.

Rondon has the stuff and potential to be a dynamic, late-inning reliever, however he’s yet to pitch with any consistency.

The right-hander was excellent down the stretch in 2016, pitching to a 2.97 ERA, a 2.95 SIERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 36.1 innings.

He also struck out 11.15 batters per nine innings to go along with a 31.3 strikeout percentage and a 15.8 swinging strike percentage.

Rondon was so effective in the second half, that his numbers were comparable with those of Dellin Betances and Kelvin Herrera.

Bruce Rondon 2016 second half numbers: 2.95 SIERA, 0.96 WHIP, 11.15 strikeouts per nine innings, 31.3 strikeout percentage and a 15.6 swinging strike percentage.

Dellin Betances 2016 second half numbers: 2.94 SIERA, 1.31 WHIP, 14.90 strikeouts per nine innings, 38.1 strikeout percentage and a 15.2 swinging strike percentage.

Kelvin Herrera 2016 second half numbers: 2.75 SIERA, 1.05 WHIP, 9.77 strikeouts per nine innings, 27.0 strikeout percentage and a 12.5 swinging strike percentage.

However, Rondon’s 2017 numbers show just how inconsistent he can be.

The flame-throwing reliever struck out 22 batters in 15.2 frames, but was also tagged for 21 hits, 19 earned runs, 10 walks and a home run.

He’s allowed two runs or more in four of his last eight outings, including a pair of runs in Sunday’s loss against the Twins.

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Rondon entered in a tie game, but was unable to hold things down. He also walked two batters and was charged with the loss. Just one of the nine pitches he threw was for a strike.