Rondon pitches perfect inning in second rehab outing
Bruce Rondon pitched a quicker, cleaner inning Sunday night in his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers reliever retired the side in order for the Mud Hens in the eighth in just 10 pitches, six of them strikes.
Rondon hit 98 mph on the Fifth Third Stadium radar gun twice with his fastball, about the same as his previous outing Thursday (though he topped out at 99 mph on a pitch Thursday). He mixed in more offspeed pitches this time, including some pretty good sliders, and commanded the strike zone better.
“To me, he was much better today,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “He had angle. And to me, he looked like two miles an hour slower, but much tougher to hit today. His delivery stayed together. He threw downhill, threw strikes, was down in the zone. Tonight, if he threw like that all the time, he’ll be successful at the next level.”
Rondon used a 96 mph fastball to get a first-pitch fly out to the left-field warning track from former Major Leaguer Luke Scott. Kevin Nolan flew out to center on a 2-2 slider, then Ryan Schimpf grounded out to first base on a 2-1 slider, with Rondon running over to cover the bag.
Mud Hens pitching coach Mike Maroth, who coached Rondon at Class A Lakeland a few years ago, said Rondon settled in after having extra adrenaline his first time out Thursday.
“Much better this time,” Maroth said. “Just not overthrowing the ball. Fastball had much better angle. He commanded his pitches better.”
Rondon, who pitched with a 4-0 deficit, earned the win when the Mud Hens rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the inning.
Rondon, on the 15-day disabled list since Opening Day with bicipital tendinitis, will travel with the Mud Hens on their 10-game road trip to Louisville, Indianapolis and Columbus. If he sticks to the current plan, he’ll likely spend the entire trip with the club, pitching back-to-back outings next Friday and Saturday before throwing an extended outing of 25-30 pitches, likely more than one inning, a few days later.
Also traveling with the Mud Hens is Buck Farmer, who is scheduled to start for the Tigers on Thursday against the Angels. He’s expected to fly west midweek and join the Tigers in Anaheim.
“He’s using all three of his pitches,” Parrish said of Farmer, 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in nine starts with the Hens. “His changeup has been much better this year, a plus-pitch him. At times, it’s looked like a split. He just looks a year older, a little more mature than he was last year.”