Bonine as Mr. Reliable

Eddie Bonine said he’s fine if Jim Leyland says he knows what to expect from him. In fact, he’s kind of flattered. If he’s Mr. Reliable in the race for rotation spots, that’s cool with him. He hasn’t really been that kind of guy before.

He has been the overlooked guy before, but he has had a habit of defying expectations.

“It sounds like a compliment,” Bonine said of Leyland’s remarks after his two innings Friday against the Astros. “I think I’ve kind of been that kind of pitcher the last few years. Just being in that discussion as far as a guy that could possibly start for them, that’s where I want to be. There’s definitely a business side of it, but I know that when it comes to on the field, Dave [Dombrowski] and Jim [Leyland], they want to go out there and win ballgames. The rest of that stuff is going to take care of itself.”

Right now, Bonine is trying to take care of his pitches, The knuckleball, that unpredictable pitch that the Tigers like and want to see him throw, is the last pitch in the package, and it was the pitch that gave him some trouble Friday.

Bonine gave his three doubles in his two innings of work, and two of them came off knuckleballs that didn’t knuckle. It sounds like the pitch isn’t coming along, but it’s a pitch that he can only really hone in games. It isn’t a practice pitch for him.

“It’s one of those pitches that when I throw it, it’s full arm speed,” Bonine said. “It’s not just a different grip. It’s a different type of pitch. It seems like that’s the last pitch that comes for me, that good release point on that pitch. It’s definitely a feel pitch, and last year I got to the point where I could take some off it and kind of pitch off of it at different speeds. That’s one of those things that just comes from being out there and throwing it and getting a better feel for it. That’s where I’d like to be. I’m going to get back to that, how I finished last year as far as being able to add and subtract from that pitch. But it’s just a feel pitch.”

Once he gets that pitch down, you’re probably going to see more swings and misses from him. But it takes time, which is a tough situation for someone fighting for a roster spot. For now, once he got into trouble, he said he “had to go to work.” In other words, he had to get away from the knuckler for a little bit.

That goes back to the difference between Bonine and a knuckleballer like Tim Wakefield. Bonine throws a knuckleball — throws two, if you count the different speeds — but he isn’t a knuckleball pitcher. In other words, he doesn’t live and die on that pitch. He’ll throw not only fastballs, but a breaking ball that some confuse with the knuckler.

With all those variables, it’s new for him to be considered Mr. Reliable. But he’ll take it.

“I’m just still that guy who’s trying to get up there and continuing to prove myself,” Bonine said. “It’s a tremendous compliment, obviously, what Skip was saying, that he knows what he’s getting with me.”

3 Comments

We have heard a bit of enthusiasm for Mrs. Oliver and Turner. Let’s not forget Casey Crosby. Here’s a big lefty with a lot of potential. Still on West Michigan’s roster but I can’t see him anywhere but Erie to start off and finishing up at Toledo—this year.
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What ever happened to Brent Clevlen?
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Why did we ever trade Carlos Pena?
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No one talks about Cale Iorg anymore.
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Wilkin Ramirez LOOKS like he should be a star ballplayer. I guess LOOKS ain’t everything–so my wife tells me.
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Anybody else think Joel Zumaya’s real value to the Tigers might be in a trade?
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Could you imaging hitting against Justin Verlander if he threw a knuckleball too?
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How can such a nice guy like Dontrelle Willis possibly bring the worst out in some of our Tiger fans? If he doesn’t make it —he doesn’t make it. Simple as that. But keep his personality around—maybe he could be the next batting instructor. (Ooooh-sorry Lloyd)
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If Bonderman wins the comeback player of the year (how about if he squeezes the award out just ahead of Willis?), we are a pennant contender.
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Does Nate Robertson become this year’s Gary Sheffield?
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Saw a picture of Curtis in pinstripes the other day laying down a bunt. A picture is worth a thousand words. Explains why he didn’t bunt much here.
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Two things Gene Lamont shouldn’t do:
Go golfing with Jim Leyland or
hunting with Dick Cheney.
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105 years old. That’s the age of our outfielders with Damon in CF and Carlos in LF. Let’s pray we don’t ever see that combination.
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All this hype about Magglio looking great and going to have a strong year———I actually believe it will happen.
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We are going to be agonizing again about the impotence of the bottom part of the batting order.
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Do you think Ricky Porcello is gonna pitch Youkilis high and tight?
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I hope Placido wins a Gold Glove this year at 3rd for the Phils.
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Was it Chico Escuela (or Garrett Morris) that said “Beisbol been bery, bery good to me!”
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Ahhhh spring!

Probability of making the team in the rotation:
Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer
Bonderman
Robertson
Willis
Coke
Galarraga
Figaro
Bonine

Best starting pitchers
Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer
Bonderman
Coke
Galarraga
Everyone else down through A ball
Willis and Robertson

Bonine and Miner are the forgotten pair. They seem to do better as starters but Leyland has bullpen pinned on them.
They are not as glamorous as Verlander, Porcello, or even Bonderman but they can give you an above average start most of the time. They remind me of Paul Foytack from the 60’s. He was overshadowed by Lary, Mossi and Bunning but he was a .500 pitcher you could depend upon while
the other 3 were winning much more than losing. Few teams today seem to have 5 starters who are all big winners so a .500 pitcher would look pretty good in the 4th or 5th slot.

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