Detroit — Tigers manager Jim Leyland couldn’t talk at length about it because he rarely elaborates on medical matters involving players.
But perhaps a bigger announcement than who’s starting for the Tigers against the A’s on Friday (Max Scherzer) was the one about who won’t be available in the bullpen: Phil Coke and Bruce Rondon.
And for anyone thinking Rondon would be a big boost if he could pitch the rest of the way as he pitched in his last outing, it comes down to this in the Division Series: He won’t be a boost at all.
“Without question, Rondon would have been a nice piece,” Leyland said. “What we saw from him in Minnesota was just lightning. But, hey, that’s just the way it is. This is who we are, this is what we’ve got.”
Rondon came out of that one inning against the Twins last week, in which he struck out the side, with soreness in his right elbow the next day, the same condition that knocked him out for much of September.
It now threatens his October.
Rondon calls it “discomfort in his elbow.” He’s coping with it as best he can, but after feeling so strong in that last outing, the recurrence of soreness blindsided him.
“I feel bad because I wanted to help the team,” Rondon said through a translator. “Everyone dreams of going to the playoffs.”
So far, Rondon hasn’t been able to throw since experiencing the soreness.
“If I’m fine,” he said about hoping to pitch in the playoffs.
But that’s the big if: If he’s fine.
“This has been very disappointing,” Rondon said. “I thought I was going to feel good after that outing. But I felt the soreness again.”
Despite losing their last three games — and ending the season on a 5-5 run — the Tigers remain confident heading into the postseason.
“We feel good about it; we did a good job this year and we were able to put ourselves in this position at this time of the year,” center fielder Austin Jackson said. “Everybody feels pretty good about where we’re headed right now.”
“I don’t think anybody’s really thinking about (the last three games) too much — just excited about the postseason.”
Colon the choice
While Max Scherzer may be a surprise with his breakout season of 21 victories, the A’s choice to start Game 1, Bartolo Colon, might be an even bigger surprise.
Colon, 40, is having one of his best seasons, with an 18-6 record and wins in his last four starts. He is second in the American League in wins and ERA (2.65) and had three complete games and three shutouts.
“He has good stuff,” Jackson said. “His stuff is pretty dirty, so that’s no surprise to me.”