Leyland: Tuesday was Rondon’s best outing
As long of a Spring Training as this has been, and as up-and-down as it has been at times for Bruce Rondon, I think it’s safe to say Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been guarded in his praise for the potential rookie closer. On Tuesday, after Rondon sent down the middle of the Braves lineup in order and struck out both Upton brothers, Leyland didn’t hesitate in his praise.
“Well, I think that’s probably the best he’s thrown this spring,” Leyland said after the game. “He had a good day today. … He was aggressive. He was in the strike zone consistently. He mixed his pitches well. He threw two or three pitches by design that we wanted to see.”
Rondon took the step of starting off hitters with sliders and then going to his fastball. He struck out Justin Upton swinging at a slider before using a similar pitch to get a second strike on B.J. Upton, setting up the fastball for strike three. In between, Freddie Freeman flew out meekly to left.
He topped out at 100 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun, but that wasn’t the most important part of his outing this time around.
Rondon won’t have to wait long to try to follow up on it. He’s scheduled to pitch again Wednesday against the Phillies as he gets his spring drill of pitching on back-to-back days.