Rondon scratched from outing with sore shoulder
The biggest news out of the Tigers’ bullpen parade Wednesday took place without a pitch being thrown. Bruce Rondon was supposed to throw, pitching in back-to-back games, until he woke up with a sore shoulder that didn’t go away when he tried to stretch out during pregame warm-ups at Osceola County Stadium. He ended up back in Lakeland for treatment.
It’s different than the elbow issue that cost him last season with Tommy John surgery a year ago, and it’s not believed to be related to the sore neck that sidelined him last weekend. It’s not severe enough at this point for team officials to order an exam.
With camp breaking in a few days, however, it’s a new version of an age-old problem: It’s tough to make the team from the training room.
“If he can’t pitch, obviously it’s a lot tougher to be on the team,” Ausmus said. “In that sense, it’s a big concern.”
Ausmus has said multiple times over the last couple days that he needs Rondon to prove he can pitch in consecutive games if he’s going to make the big-league club. Between the sore neck and now the shoulder, he has pitched once in the last five days at a time when most pitchers are hitting regular-season form.
“He needs to pitch back-to-back before we can assume that that he’s OK to pitch on a regular basis at the Major League level,” Ausmus repeated after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Astros.
The Tigers should know more about his chances Thursday morning. If he can’t, that leaves at least two open spots to decide before camp breaks. Ausmus will have no problem getting a look at his candidates.