Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Tigers Call Up Rondon....and Valverde
They always say it's who you know. In the Tigers' case, it's good to know the guy with the Marlboros. Jose Valverde can vouch for that. After a few innings against Canadian teenagers and 20-year olds, he gets to skip not only Toledo but any type of major league audition. Flying Tiger one day, Tiger closer the next. Literally. The Tigers signed Papa Grande to a one-year contract and made room by sending Brayan Villarreal down to Toledo.
The pitcher who, less than six months ago, nuked his chances at meaningful innings in the playoffs is once again the Tigers' closer. I truly can't believe I just typed that. Any other pitcher in camp could've walked on water to get to the ninth inning and the Tigers would've pointed out he wasn't a proven closer. Valverde has a good week in Lakeland against kids who can't celebrate a home run with a beer and it's "Here's the keys." It's bizarre.
Bruce Rondon may scratch his head at it, but he can't complain about his road to the majors too much. After less than eight innings in Toledo, an injury to Octavio Dotel has landed him in Detroit as well. He's gone four apperances without a walk, has lights out stuff, and hasn't given up a run yet this season. But again, just 7 2/3 innings.
Bullpens will make you crazy, no? I'm actually very excited about Rondon. I was more excited when I thought he could earn his way into high leverage situations. Now I'm afraid we're about to find out what Valverde has to do to lose the closing job.