Detroit Tigers Call Up Bruce Rondon To Bolster Middle Relief


The Detroit Tigers are calling up Bruce Rondon to provide relief help in the middle innings.

The Detroit Tigers announced on Wednesday evening that they would be calling up the hard-throwing Bruce Rondon to help support their faltering relief staff. Rondon could eventually work his way into a late inning role, but, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers will likely call on him in the middle innings for now.

"With Joakim Soria and Joba Chamberlain firmly entrenched in the team’s closer and setup man roles for the time being, Rondon will likely get the bulk of his action in the middle innings."

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Rondon has been out of big league action since September of 2013. His 2014 season was lost due to Tommy John surgery, and he was sidelined this spring with biceps tendinitis. He’s returned this year to pitch 12.2 innings in AAA Toledo where he has recorded a 7.11 ERA in 13 outings.

That elevated ERA could be a bit misleading, however, as his FIP stood at a much more reasonable 3.43 thanks to a 23% strikeout rate. Hopefully his high-ish BABIP (.373) and low strand rate (53.4%) don’t follow him to the big leagues.

Manager Brad Ausmus apparently isn’t worried about his elevated ERA in AAA. Here’s what he told Jason Beck of about Rondon’s time in the minors:

"“I think he was pitching down there more with the idea that he was preparing, getting his body prepared,” manager Brad Ausmus said last week. “Not that he’s not trying to get the guys out, but the priority was to get his arm and body ready. But now he’s in a situation where he’s got to get outs.”"

It would be unfair (and unreasonable) to expect Rondon to return to the show after so much time away and immediately perform as a shutdown relief ace, but even modest results would be an upgrade over the soft underbelly of the staff currently residing in the Tigers’ bullpen.

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