Young fireballer Bruce Rondon has been demoted to Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers announced after their loss to the Twins on Wednesday. Luke Putkonen was recalled to take the roster spot as a corresponding move.
The Tigers entered the spring with the plan to give Rondon a shot at the vacant closer job. Instead, he was unable to break camp with the team. He was promoted to the bigs last week but allowed a game-tying run in his big-league debut. He did throw a spotless inning the following day, but his next chance came Wednesday against the Twins -- and it was ugly.
Rondon only recorded one out while allowing two hits (including a triple) and two walks. He'll head back to the minors with an 11.57 ERA, though it's an incredibly small sample. Still, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been around for a long time and believes this was the correct move.
“Right now he's just not ready for this,” Leyland said, via Detroit Free-Press. “When I say that, please don't think anybody's down on him. We think he's a future closer at the major- league level. But I can't get him enough work right now.”
It definitely makes sense to send him back down for more polish if the Tigers don't want to trust Rondon in big situations with the big-league club at this point.
Meanwhile, "Papa Grande" -- Jose Valverde -- is back and has thrown three perfect innings.