The Tigers announced today that they have promoted RHP Bruce Rondon from Toledo to take the roster spot of Octavio Dotel, who was placed on the disabled list with right elbow problems.
Rondon has appeared in seven games for the Mud Hens this season. His numbers include just five hits and two walks allowed in 7.2 innings, striking out nine along the way. Opponents are hitting just .179 against him.
The only negative number on Rondon's resume is inherited runners scored: He has inherited three, and all three scored.
Those three runs came against Indianapolis on April 15 when he entered the game in the eighth with the bases loaded and one out. He gave up an RBI single to Matt Hague (on a ball just to the left of third baseman Argenis Diaz that originally was ruled an error) and a two-run single to Jerry Sands (a hard line drive back up the middle) before getting two strikeouts.
In the ninth he gave up a leadoff single to Josh Harrison before getting three outs, two by strikeout (he struck out Brandon Inge and Brett Carroll).
"We've wanted to see him control the strike zone, and so far he has done that," Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said of Rondon. "And other thing he's shown me since he's been here is a positive attitude."
I'll use that April 15 outing for a few Rondon numbers. He threw 32 pitches in that outing, 19 of which were strikes.
Rondon's fastball sat at 97-98 mph while touching 100-101 (one at 95, five at 97, six at 98, two at 99, three at 100 and one at 101). Of those 18 pitches, 12 were strikes (two swinging, one taken, five fouled and four put in play -- three singles and an out) and only one strikeout.
It's hard to tell from the press box, but I think Rondon was throwing a change-up (88-89 mph) and a slider (84-87 mph). Of the 14 "off-speed" pitches, seven were strikes (two swinging, five taken) with three of the strikeouts coming on this pitch. Pitch speeds included two at 84 mph, four at 85, three at 86, two at 87, one at 88 and two at 89.
"You're not going to get outs at the higher levels with just a fastball," Nevin said. "He's done very well getting his other pitchers over for strikes early in the count and late in the count.
"He's understanding the value of that first strike. He's understanding when to get the slider over for a strike. he's understanding the art of pitching; he's not just blowing away hitters in A-ball."
Nevin also said that, when Rondon finally earns the closer's job in Detroit, he will excel in that role.
"He's got that mentality," Nevin said. "The new-age computer people think you can mix-and-match at the end of a game, and I think that's absolutely assinine. Those are three special outs in a baseball game.
"Maybe it's because I played with one of the best closers in baseball history in Trevor Hoffman, and I played in the same era as Mariano Rivera. But those are three special outs, and it takes a special person to get them."
If you exclude Rondon's April 15 appearance, he allowed two hits and two walks while fanning five in six scoreless innings.