User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Tigers view Rondon with excitement, uncertainty

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Bruce Rondon was chatting with reporters in the clubhouse with help from a translator when he was asked how fast he can really throw.

Advertisement
The Detroit Tigers prospect claimed to have reached 104 mph.

``I want to see that,'' teammate Joaquin Benoit said.

Skepticism, excitement - and most of all, curiosity. That's what the Tigers are feeling about Rondon right now. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound right-hander from Venezuela could be the team's closer on opening day, but he's never thrown a major league pitch. Now, the defending American League champions are giving him a chance to play a crucial role in their bullpen.

``A lot of players on our team, regular players, you know what you're going to get from them. The only question mark I have so far is Rondon,'' reliever Octavio Dotel said. ``He's got to relax himself every time he's coming to pitch in the ninth. That's what I'm going to give him, and I'm going to inject into him every day, every time.''

Detroit let Jose Valverde go after last season and instead of acquiring a veteran closer, the Tigers let the job remain vacant. The reason for that was Rondon, who turned 22 in December and is entering his sixth season with the organization.

Rondon was chosen Detroit's minor league pitcher of the year in 2012, when he posted 29 saves and a 1.53 ERA with Class-A Lakeland, Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Impressive numbers, to be sure, but Rondon pitched only eight innings with Toledo. In 196 career minor league innings, he has 213 strikeouts. He's allowed 111 walks, but opponents hit only .189 against him.

Manager Jim Leyland doesn't want Rondon's progress to become a daily issue at spring training, and he's indicated he'll take his time before deciding how ready the big reliever is for the majors.

``He's been a strikeout guy in the minor leagues. We're in the big leagues now,'' Leyland said. ``I'm not running away from it, but I'm not going to get into it every day. We've got a guy on our hands with a huge arm - how it's going to play out, I can't answer that, but that's what we've got.''

If Rondon doesn't win the closer job, Detroit has other options for the ninth inning. Benoit struggled to keep the ball in the park last year, but he had a 2.95 ERA in 2011 for the Tigers. Al Alburquerque has a 1.59 ERA in 49 big league appearances. Dotel has 109 career saves, and Leyland used Phil Coke in crucial spots last year while trying to mix and match his way through the postseason after Valverde faltered.

But for now, Rondon is on the spot. He certainly has the size and the look of an intimidating reliever, but his motion seems reasonably effortless.

``That's what makes him a little bit different than guys that throw as hard as he does,'' catcher Alex Avila said. ``He's not as violent with his motion, which is a good thing, because it adds deception.''

Rondon will face opposing hitters soon enough during spring training, and throughout this audition he'll have plenty of players in the Detroit clubhouse who can provide support.

What advice has he already received?

``At every level, it's just baseball,'' Rondon said.

The Tigers certainly hope there's a lot of truth to that.

``He's got a very smooth motion, very deliberate. Then right at the last minute, right when he lets go, it's like an explosion out of his hand,'' Avila said. ``It's awesome. Guys like him, with that type of talent, don't come around often. Sometimes when they do, they don't last, so it'll be interesting to see how he responds and how he takes to this opportunity.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Lawrence: August Pitchers Report
Rose: Who's Hot - NL Edition
Price, Lester traded in deadline flurry
Dodgers beat Braves 2-1 behind Kershaw
Jays edge Astros for 6th straight win
Angels nip O's in 13 innings, avoid sweep
Royals double-up Twins, 6-3
Zunino's HR lifts M's past Indians, 6-5
Phillies rock Nats 10-4, but lose Lee
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
8-4 L2 Days, 20-8 G-Plays, +8,353
7-0 L7 Guarantees, 16-6 L22 Picks
5-1 +474 Run, +2,443 This Year
7-3 L4 Days, 28-15 +1,647 L43
17-5 L22 Totals, +2,199 This Year
5-1, +510 L6 Guarantees
18-10 +885 L28, +2,540 TY
18-8 L26 Guarantees, +1,848 TY
6-2 L3 Days, +2,144 Totals TY
7-4 L11 Totals, +2,095 TY
4 Straight Guaranteed Wins
27-15 Last 42 Selections
3-0 +327 Yesterday, +2,447 TY
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks - Antony Dinero
2014 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 8353
John Fisher + 2540
The Gold Sheet + 2447
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 3259
James Manos + 2664
Dave Cokin + 1776
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2349
Matt Zylbert + 2144
Tony Stoffo + 1302
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Doc's Sports + 1337
Dave Cokin + 1323
Kyle Hunter + 1076
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 3989
Doc's Sports + 1607
Kevin Rogers + 1364
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 2292
The Gold Sheet + 1157
Dave Cokin + 920
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!