Dontrelle rehab update

Back home for the Yankees series Monday after Robert Falkoff covered for me in KC, but I wanted to post an update on Dontrelle Willis and his rehab outing Sunday. He allowed two earned runs on three hits in six innings with three walks and six strikeouts, earning the victory in Erie’s 8-4 win over Harrisburg.

Willis threw 56 of his 92 pitches for strikes, but that’s actually a little deceptive, since there was a definite split in his outing. He was perfect through four innings, using just 43 pitches in the process, before a solo homer and back-to-back doubles led to a 31-pitch fifth inning (19 of those 31 pitches were balls). He reportedly threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 23 batters he faced.

Not sure how accurate the radar gun is at Jerry Uht Park, but Willis’ fastball supposedly ranged from 86-90 mph on the stadium readings. However, his breaking ball was supposedly pretty good.

As of now, it seems likely that Willis will make another rehab start, even though he’s stretched out from a pitch-count standpoint. UPDATE: Indications are that his next outing will be for Triple-A Toledo next weekend at Allentown, probably Friday.


Of course, the obvious question is, then what do they do with him?

#1 Don’t upset the cart now- keep him down in minors.
Unfortunately, they will undoubtedly bring him up, to show him off.. just to give him some numbers for prospective teams looking, to see him in the big show!…. I think he needs to just stay down there, till an arm is inured on the Tigers. I don’t care if he is a project or not.
#2 Trade him…. Can we get Jurjens back with Willis? oh… I didn’t think Atlanta would go for that one…. Bundle him in a twofer one package. If they cut SHef, then I am sure they aren’t worried about his low salary, to stay put where he is.

I agree about keeping him in Toledo to see a larger sampling of what he can do. If he can become consistently effective then by all means bring him up. We all know that we will have to deal with injuries, in fact we already are. If a starter goes down then Willis could move in. At this point he doesn’t seem potentially capable of besting someone already in the rotation.
The big question I have is how the heck is Jeremy Bonderman doing? We have have heard precious little about his rehab.
My concern about Bondo is that amidst all this recovery turmoil he likely is not even concerned about devleoping a 3rd pitch. He will be pretty fixated on getting his slider and fastball back to previous quality. I still maintain that without an effective changeup-Jeremy will not become the dominant type of pitcher he should be.
Now, to Verlander. Geez. What an enigma. This guy has all the stuff (in his arm) that Haren, Lincecum, Greinke, etc have. But the stuff in the head seems to be the problem. It would be nice to see the guy think and be a little more deliberate out there. He just seems to believe that if he keeps throwing the ball hard every 12.2 seconds he will throw a no-hitter and strike out 27 batters. When that doesn’t happen he can’t seem to work through the personal disaapointment. This guy could be one of the best pitchers in the game. Maybe he needs a personal coach. Wonder what Kenny Rogers is doing?
Not sure when Ricnon will get a chance to display his wares in a meaningful situation, but IMO, he is likely the guy to go, should DD and JL decide that Willis needs to earn his contract in front of big league fans.
This may be an unpopular statement, but I have a feeling that Marcus Thames is not going to be long in a Tiger uniform if and when he comes back. I would rather see nother RHB outfielder with less than average defensive abilites be the one to go.
Tough break for Treanor. He will have an even tougher time retaing the backup position.

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