First workout notes: Hanrahan “less than 100%”, Rondon easing into mound work
The Tigers worked out an hour later than previously planned due to the weather. It’s not like there was frost on the grass around Joker Marchant Stadium or Tigertown, but the last thing they want is a pulled muscle on the first day, especially with so many guys working their way back from injury.
Two pitchers of note in that regard were a topic of conversation. Bruce Rondon is on the bullpen session schedule with the rest of the pitchers, but he’ll get an extra day of rest between work at the start. So instead of throwing every other day, he’ll throw today and then Monday. So far as I could tell, he’s the only guy on such a schedule at this point.
“There’s really no restrictions,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ve actually been told that if we wanted to push him, we could go every other day. It’s just [pitching coach Jeff Jones] and I thought it was more prudent, especially with a reliever. He doesn’t need that many reps or that many innings during the exhibition season that we have to rush him. We’re just going to take a little extra time and see how he feels. A lot of it going to be how he bounces back afterwards. We’re handling him a little bit with kid gloves at this point.”
Joel Hanrahan, by contrast, is throwing every other day, which is a good sign. But that doesn’t necessary mean he’s at full-go. Ausmus sounded extremely cautious about him, maybe even more than Rondon.
“We’ll just deal with it on a day-to-day basis,” Ausmus said. “We hope for the best, but it’s been a bumpy road for him. Really, we don’t know what’s going to happen. … He’s on the schedule right now, but I would characterize him as less than 100 percent at this point.
“Obviously if Hanrahan’s healthy and can pitch like he has pre-surgery, it would be a huge bonus for us. But right now, he has to get 100 percent healthy.”
Ryan, Farmer to bullpen: Two other names to add to the relief mix for now are Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer. Ausmus said both will work as relievers early in the spring. Ryan made an impression during his September stint in the bullpen — “He kinda had nerves of steel,” Ausmus said this morning — while Ausmus and Jeff Jones felt Farmer’s stuff lent itself to a bullpen look. Both could be stretched out as starters later this spring if it becomes clear they won’t make it.
Ryan could be interesting to note. Ausmus listed five relievers that are likely set if healthy: Nathan, Soria, Alburquerque, Rondon (again, if healthy) and Tom Gorzelanny. That leaves two open spots, and Ausmus would like to have a second lefty. So Ryan would be in the mix with Ian Krol, Blaine Hardy, Kyle Lobstein (who’s being stretched out as a starter), Joe Mantiply and others for a second lefty spot.