Tigers activate Rondon, send him to Toledo

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Bruce Rondon

Detroit – Bruce Rondon's powerful right arm is healthy again. Now he's got to get back to pitching competitively, and competently.

Thus, after the Tigers activated Rondon off the disabled list Monday, they optioned him to Triple A Toledo.

"It's about being on the mound competing, throwing strikes and getting outs," manager Brad Ausmus said. "There's nothing overly pressing mechanically that he needs to change. He just needs to pitch."

Rondon, who missed all of last year after Tommy John surgery, had been on the disabled list all season with biceps tendinitis. Although his velocity has returned to its high-90 mph range, he hasn't regained command or consistency with his pitches.

In nine rehab outings for the Mud Hens, Rondon allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in 8.2 innings. He gave up 15 hits and five walks while striking out nine.

"He's just got to keep pitching," Ausmus said. "He certainly has the ability to pitch at this level. But you have to remember, it's been a year since he's pitched competitively, over a year. I don't think it will hurt him from a health perspective or a baseball perspective to pitch in Toledo some.

"He's ready to start pitching and have it mean something."

Ausmus isn't overly concerned with Rondon's inflated stat line for that very reason — there is a different mindset, a different goal, when you are pitching on a rehab assignment.

"He was pitching more with the idea that he was just preparing and getting his body prepped," Ausmus said. "It's not like he wasn't trying to get guys out, but the priority was to get his arm and body ready. Now he's in a situation where he's got to get outs."

The Tigers, who will face some heavy left-handed hitting lineups (Yankees and Indians) coming up, will continue with three left-handed relievers in the bullpen — Tom Gorzelanny, Blaine Hardy and Ian Krol.

Twitter @cmccosky