San Diego, Calif. — Manager Brad Ausmus is going to take a wait-and-see attitude this time around with reliever Bruce Rondon.
Rondon was called up from Triple-A Toledo after the Tigers released Francisco Rodriguez Friday. Asked if he planned to use him later in games, as the third set-up option along with Shane Greene and Alex Wilson, Ausmus was non-committal.
“We have to see what we’ve got,” he said. “I’m not going to lock him into anything until we find out.”
It’s understandable. Rondon struggled much of May in Toledo and began to pitch better in June. His last 10 outings have been his best.
“It’s really been a long battle,” general manager Al Avila said of Rondon. “Last year he went through the same thing. We brought him up later in the year and he had a great two-month run.”
Rondon disappointed the Tigers by showing up overweight to spring training. He has since worked the weight off and according to reports, he’s using his slider and change-up more frequently.
“He was basically working on all his pitches,” Avila said. “He had to get that slider going. The velocity’s not 100 mph anymore, but it’s plenty velocity. He’ll be 94 to 98 with that 88-mph slider.
“He had to get his command, his control back. He had to lose weight. We had to get him working on holding runners better, being quicker to the plate. He’s done all that. So, right now our guys felt he was ready to contribute here.”
Ausmus wants to see it first.
“There is always an expectation when somebody comes up that he’s going to be better than the guy you sent out,” he said. “But you just don’t know if that guy is going to be better. We have to let it play out.”
The Tigers might be getting their designated hitter back on Tuesday.
Ausmus said before Friday’s game that Victor Martinez, on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat, was medically cleared to resume baseball activity. Ausmus also said he didn’t expect Martinez would need to do a rehab assignment.
“No, not after being out just 10 days,” he said. “I wouldn’t think so.”
It is a quicker recovery than the Tigers initially expected.
“I think Victor should be OK by next week,” Avila said. “We’ve got the latest report on him and it looks pretty positive.”
The Tigers have gone 1-6 since Martinez went on the DL.
Center fielder Alex Presley lost the battle with the center field wall at Safeco Field Thursday night.
“I was basically a half-step late (in realizing he was at the wall) and I basically ran through it,” he said.
His hat popped cleanly off his head and he appeared dazed. He finished the inning but on Friday was placed on the seven-day concussion DL. It was the second concussion of his career — the first came in 2012.
He was still groggy on Friday.
The Tigers recalled veteran outfielder Matt den Dekker from Toledo to take Presley’s place. The 29-year-old has played parts of four seasons with the Mets and Nationals. A left-handed hitter, he was hitting .269 with a .376 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage at Toledo.