Results tagged ‘ Nate Robertson ’

Robertson, Bonderman could rehab next week

Unless they’re unusually sore in their arms tomorrow, both Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman are on track to begin Minor League rehab assignments next week after they pitched in a simulated game Friday afternoon at Cleveland.

Robertson threw 45 pitches, or the equivalent of about three innings, to a group of Tigers hitters that included Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas and Dusty Ryan. Once again, he noticed a little more bite in his pitches, the product of an elbow free of the tissue masses that were moved during surgery last month.

“It’s what the hitters see,” Robertson said, “and [Thomas] said he had a tough time picking up the rotation on my slider, which is good. It gives you more deception. The ball was moving pretty good, too, for the most part. I got jumpy on a couple pitches, but when I got the ball out front, it had the movement and the rotation that I want.”

Bonderman threw about 35 pitches over two innings, all out of the stretch in preparation for the relief role he’ll have if he comes back to pitch this season. He said his arm is feeling “a lot better than it did” in his previous rehab work earlier this season, enough that he feels confident he can get back and contribute this year.

“I feel pretty certain that I’ll be all right this time,” he said. “We’ll see.”

When team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski was asked what he expects out of their situations, he was guardedly optimistic.

“Do I expect them [to come back]? I can’t tell you that I expect them,” Dombrowski said. “Am I hopeful? Yes.” 

A couple key points to note are that Robertson would pitch as a starter in rehab, and that it won’t be a quick sasignment. Robertson said the goal is to be ready at the end of August, which would point toward a September call-up when rosters expand.

While Bonderman will pitch in relief, that doesn’t mean anything for his future use beyond this year.

“Next year, we would project him as a starter,” Dombrowski said. “We just think [this works now] strengthwise in his arm as much as the ability to build him up. There’s been an indication, just because of everything he’s been through, after he throws 25-30 pitches, his stuff falls off.” 

Other injury news

Joel Zumaya, according to manager Jim Leyland, “doesn’t feel very good,” not a good sign after he injured his shoulder four days ago. He didn’t want to get into specifics other than the fact that the shoulder is still hurting. MRI results didn’t show anything structurally different with it compared to last time, but this is also a shoulder that hasn’t been completely healthy since last year. When he pitched through it this year, he did it with a stress fracture that doctors compared to what many NFL quarterbacks go through. At some point, Leyland said, they’re going to have to figure out how to get the shoulder right.

Nate Robertson said he made close to 100 throws from 120 feet on flat ground Tuesday, three weeks after he underwent surgery to remove four masses of tissue from his left elbow. He’s on track to start pitching off a mound soon, which would seemingly set him up for a rehab stint in August. The big test Robertson wants to feel is how his arm responds unrestricted once he starts pitching off a mound in side sessions.

“The big thing,” Robertson said, “will be building it back up and seeing how much [surgery] freed it up.”

Jeremy Bonderman, meanwhile, threw a 5-minute side session Tuesday and felt fine.

“I know it feels better,” Bonderman said of his arm. “Velocity, I have no idea, but it feels a lot better, a lot freer. Hopefully the third time’s the charm.”

Robertson has surgery, out at least a month

I’m not on the series in Oakland, but I received word that Nate Robertson had successful surgery to remove four small cysts from his left elbow. Dr. Stephen Lemos, team physician, performed the procedure here in Detroit. It’s a relatively minor surgery, but the hope is that it’s a big help for Robertson. Because the cysts were around his ulnar nerve, he was experiencing numbness in his left hand, as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand explained Sunday.

The timetable calls Robertson to wait 3-4 weeks before he can pick up a ball. From there, it’s a matter of how long his throwing program lasts. The timetable would seemingly suggest an August return at the earliest, or a September return when rosters expand.

Robertson to DL; Ni in Houston

The Tigers placed Nate Robertson on the 15-day DL this morning with a mass in the medial portion of his left elbow. The move is retroactive to Saturday. To take his place, they purchased the contract of Fu-Te Ni from Triple-A Toledo. He flew to Houston this morning and should be available for the game today.

UPDATE: Robertson is flying back to Detroit to have his elbow checked out team doctor Stephen Lemos. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said the tissue mass in his elbow is like a cyst, and it has been aggravating his nerves, causing numbness and tingling in his ring and pinky fingers. They expect he’ll have to undergo minor surgery to have the mass excised, but they hope to do that along the same area where he had Tommy John surgery years ago. The timetable on any return depends on how that procedure goes.

As for Ni, he arrived in the clubhouse a little bit ago, as did his translator, Fox.

Postgame roster move

The Tigers optioned left-hander Luke French back to Triple-A Toledo after the game tonight so that they can activate Nate Robertson from the 15-day disabled list in time for Thursday’s game.

That’s likely to be the only roster move made in time for Thursday’s game. Manager Jim Leyland said he does not expect Magglio Ordonez to be back in time for the game, so he’ll likely remain on the family medical emergency list.

Robertson placed on DL

The Tigers not only lost a 13-inning game to the Twins Wednesday night, they also lost a versatile middle and late-inning reliever who could’ve helped in that game. Detroit placed left-hander Nate Robertson on the 15-day disabled list Thursday morning, retroactive to May 6, with a low back muscle strain.

To take his spot in the bullpen, the Tigers called up left-hander Luke French from Triple-A Toledo.

Robertson hadn’t pitched since last Tuesday, mainly because the Tigers’ starting rotation had been pitching deep enough into games that relief innings were scarce. Wednesday’s game against the Twins was very much the opposite, which made Robertson’s absence notable.

Robertson was the only Tigers reliever who didn’t pitch in the game, which ended with Joe Crede’s grand slam off Brandon Lyon in his third inning of work.

The 23-year-old French has enjoyed a solid opening inning in the Mud Hens rotation, posting a 2-2 record and 2.91 ERA in six starts with 29 strikeouts over 34 innings. He’ll be in uniform in time for Thursday afternoon’s series finale against the Twins at the Metrodome.

Bullpen fact from Elias

From Elias Sports Bureau: Those four perfect innings from Nate Robertson, Bobby Seay, Ryan Perry and Fernando Rodney Saturday marked the first time since 2004 that Detroit’s bullpen had thrown four innings in a game without allowing a runner to reach base.

In case you were curious, that game was June 27, 2004 against Arizona at Comerica Park, one of the walkoff victories against the Diamondbacks that weekend. Danny Patterson replaced Mike Maroth with nobody out in the sixth and retired all four batters he faced before Jamie Walker went 2 2/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts. Detroit came back from a 5-2 deficit to tie it before Carlos Pena hit a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, LF
  6. Larish, DH
  7. Laird, C
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Everett, SS

P: Edwin Jackson


  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Michael Young, 3B
  3. Josh Hamilton, CF
  4. Hank Blalock, DH
  5. Nelson Cruz, RF
  6. David Murphy, LF
  7. Chris Davis, 1B
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

P: Kevin Millwood

Robertson would welcome a trade

Just had a long conversation this morning with Nate Robertson, who made no secret of his desire to be a starting pitcher somewhere else rather than a relief pitcher here.

“I think the cycle of a player’s time in certain places, it comes and it goes,” Robertson said. “This is my seventh year in the organization, and maybe my time here is nearing its end. And I’m fine with that. I’ll tell you what, this is a first-class organization, and I appreciate everything that’s been done for me.

I don’t go home and say, ‘Man, I feel like these guys are really sticking it to me.’ But at the same time, I’m 31 years old and I’ve got to think about my career. I can be very productive as a starting pitcher. That’s what I believe. I think I can go out there and be durable, take the ball every fifth day, give you a chance to win as a starting pitcher in the big leagues. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

The Tigers obviously feel differently. And Jim Leyland’s response seemed to make it perfectly clear that he probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“I don’t want to start on a negative note here,” Leyland said. “I think Nate Robertson has an excellent opportunity to be a huge part of our ballclub. You don’t always finish how you start. But at the same time, the best way to get yourself in the position that you want to be is prove you that you’re supposed to be in that position.”

Robertson also made it pretty clear that he was unwilling to accept a Minor League option, even for short-term stint to stretch out as a starter.

“I don’t think I can learn anything there,” Robertson said. “Honestly, that’s my opinion. I don’t think you can go down there and learn anything in my position and where I’m at in my career. What am I going to learn? How to get so-and-so out in the three hole for Richmond?”

Robertson on Friday, Porcello Saturday

The cut on Rick Porcello’s right index finger continues to bleed when he tries to throw, so his next outing has been pushed back from Friday to Saturday, when the Tigers visit the Yankees. It’s possible, Jim Leyland said, that they’ll need to push him back again. He needs to be able to throw a side session before they send him out in a game, and that hasn’t happened yet.

The ripple effect means that Nate Robertson will start Friday against the Nationals instead of Thursday in a camp game. Supposedly the camp game is now canceled, so there won’t be much of anything going on around the complex Thursday afternoon.

As usual, the Twitter page is up and going at

Nate, with traffic

You might have already seen the story of Dontrelle getting out of some major jams to salvage his outing from a potential mess, but he wasn’t the only pitching escaping disaster on Tuesday. His fellow starting contestant, Nate Robertson, had the bases loaded with nobody out in the in the sixth and ended up with a two-run inning.

It’s impossible to call it stingy work, not with two runs allowed. Compared with his downfall last season, however, it’s progress that shouldn’t go overlook.

After the bases were loaded, Robertson induced three straight ground balls. He barely missed double plays out of the first two, thanks to speed up the line from Cesar Izturis and Endy Chavez. Considering he was pounding hitters with two-seamers because his slider wasn’t working, that’s not bad.

“If I didn’t have my two-seamer,” Robertson said, “I wouldn’t have lasted three innings.”

Then there’s this stat set from last year: Not only did opponents bat .370 (61-for-165) against Robertson with runners in scoring position, but 26 of those hits went for extra bases, including 11 home runs. He also gave up 25 walks in those situations. The total OPS with RISP worked out to 1.116.

“It’s something obviously that’s pretty necessary for him to get out of those type of innings,” manager Jim Leyland acknowledged.

It’s the upshot of the fact that Robertson has had traffic on the bases in each of his first two outings.

“So far, with runners in scoring position in my two outings, I’ve done a pretty good job of damage control and making a pitch. I’ve been known to be that kind of guy in the past. I don’t want to get runners in scoring position with less than two outs. But that was the situation I was in.

“Their runners got on base, obviously, but I thought I made the pitches to get out of the situation. And I was happy with that.”

Opponents batted just .199 with just 13 extra-base hits against Robertson with RISP in 2006, and .266 with 12 hits for extra bases the year before that. By 2007, that rose to .316 with an .852 OPS.

Other notes:

  • Haven’t had a chance to write much on it with so much focus on the starting competition, but Bobby Seay is getting stingy this spring. With two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth inning Tuesday, he has fanned five batters in his three Spring Training innings, including striking out the side on nine pitches in last Wednesday’s opener. He didn’t throw many breaking balls, which is what Leyland has said he needs to work on to improve against left-handed hitters, but he didn’t need them Tuesday. If he somehow wasn’t one of the four relievers on the staff whose job was set already, he might be now.
  • There were about two dozen Venezuelan fans who drove down from Orlando and brought drums and other musical instruments. They played several times between innings, and it gave the game a winter ball feel. Brandon Inge and Ramon Santiago both said it reminded them of the Dominican League, only quieter.
  • It didn’t get mentioned in the Dontrelle Willis story this evening, but Willis is showing a very good pickoff move. Not only did he nab Abreu to escape the first inning with runners at the corners and a 3-0 count on Magglio Ordonez, but he also arguably had another runner caught earlier in the inning. He didn’t get the call on that one.
  • Following in the footsteps of follow writers Matthew Leach, Jordan Bastian and Bryan Hoch, I’ve started up a Twitter page. I went through today’s game as a tryout to see how it worked out. Check it out during the day if you want and let me know how it works out.