Bad Boding for Bonderman

Rocky performances from Dontrelle Willis and Fernando Rodney in their first appearances didn’t worry me too much. But Jeremy Bonderman being handed over to the training staff already has me greatly concerned.

Bonderman had already been scratched from his regular turn today in favor of a simulated session. Jim Leyland said they were just being cautious and it wasn’t a red flag situation. However, Bonderman is now on the sidelines receiving medication for stiffness and inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Maybe the flags aren’t red, but they sure aren’t green or checkered.

Things could certainly be worse, like something being messed up structurally. And day-to-day isn’t a dire status at all, but things are also very unknown. My first thoughts went to Fernando Rodney’s day-to-day status last year at this time, and it turns out Jon Paul Morosi was on the same page. You may remember that Rodney was day-to-day for several months.

They are different situations and a direct comparison probably isn’t appropriate. Pitchers have recovered from the surgery that Bonderman had which is promising. But if the Tigers are going to have success this year, the turnaround will have to come in large part from the incumbent starters. Anything that could throw a wrench in that is cause for pause.


  1. Kevin (in berkley)

    February 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Will Carroll addressed the bonderman situation yesterday and urged patience. He noted reports from inside the organization that they knew bonderman was on the slow, but not abnormal, track to recovery. Whether or not he recovers (I am certainly not qualified to guess), wouldn’t it be nice if the tigers or any of the local witers cared to portray themselves like they had a clue? One should not be required to have a baseball prospectus subscription to get informed reports about their local team.

  2. Vince in MN

    March 1, 2009 at 3:15 am

    I guess this is why they have 7 potential starters in camp vying for rotation spots. Regardless of all the off-season hype about Bonderman and Willis being in “great” shape, the liklihood of them failing to recover their effectiveness (for whatever reason) is still pretty high. Plus Robertson being a question mark, the trade for Jackson starts to make more sense.

  3. Chris Y.

    March 1, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Certainly, this is the ugliest revelation of the first week of the spring. Dontrelle melting down was a given, even if we all were hoping for a sea-change. Without Bonderman, the rotation gets thin fast.

    That said, even without the three question marks, here’s what an 09 rotation COULD look like:

    Verlander, Galarraga, Jackson, Miner, Porcello.

    Certainly, this group has a number of short-comings, not least of which is that it would require rushing (as I think most of us would perceive it) Porcello. But, it is a rotation that, I think, could still be plenty competitive.

    I mean, just think of the Indians’ rotation.

    You are right, Vince. The Jackson trade looks a ton more important these days. And I say that as an initial naysayer of the trade.

  4. Kathy

    March 1, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I read something about him being given medication and then checking him out in a few days, which led me to think that he might have had a cortisone shot. Now, that’s just pure speculation on my part, but anti-inflammatory medication (pills) usually take a bit longer to work. I hope he’s OK but it might take him until mid summer to be 100%.

  5. JayRc

    March 1, 2009 at 11:18 am

    In reference to red flags…
    Sending Porcello to the bigs that soon….Really? That could be a disaster the kid has only pitched at High A…and had a limited pitch count and didn’t even throw all four of his pitches yet. He definately needs more time before he’s thrown to the wolves and made a mochery of like Andrew Miller was.
    At this point I say be just be happy that for once they aren’t rushing these guys when they are clearly injured. I’d rather have a healthy Bonderman in both May and October than an ailing half ass version in February resulting in him visiting me down here in Lakeland rehabing with the Flying Tigers all summer long.
    In the mean time if he isn’t ready for the Toronto series….
    Fill the hole with a spot starter or sign someone

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  7. Rick G

    March 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    It’s hard to not get discouraged by J.B.’s lack of progress, but hopefully we can be patient. Here’s my guess at the opening day starting rotation members, in order of likelihood:

    Verlander, Galarraga, Jackson, Robertson, Miner, Bonderman, Willis, Porcello.

    The September 1st rotation (assuming the Tigers are in contention):

    Verlander, Galarraga, Jackson, Bonderman, Robertson, Porcello, Miner,Willis.

  8. Mr X

    March 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Well, Bondo hasn’t pitched in a game for 9 months. I expected that it would take extra time for him to get ready. The Tigers are doing the smart thing and not rushing him back. Still 36 more days until opening day. A lot can happen in that time.

  9. Chris in Dallas

    March 2, 2009 at 10:46 am

    One thing of note: Hank Blalock had the exact same surgery as Bonderman (do they call it a ribectomy?), and had to be moved to 1B/DH because he could no longer make the throw across the diamond. Since he’s an infielder it’s kind of an apples/oranges comparison, but worrisome nonetheless.

  10. Dave T.

    March 2, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Didn’t Kenny have this same surgery? I remember the writers saying he was not 100% till the 2nd half of the season.
    Better to wait on Bondo, he got into this mess by ignoring pain in the first place.

  11. Chris in Dallas

    March 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Well, then…

    Why do I get the feeling that the next headline we’re going to see is ‘Bonderman out for season with shoulder surgery’?

  12. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    March 2, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Leyland is claiming that everything is alright, but he also claimed that he would quit smoking back in 1931.

  13. Ryan

    March 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Just in, Bonderman is fine. There is no problems but swelling.

  14. JAYRC

    March 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Glad to hear that everything thing is “fine”…as far as we know.
    Im with you that even if we gained a 100% Bondo in May or so…its better than another wasted season

    Chris in Dallas
    Interesting point on Blaylock. I didnt know about that. I heard several times about the similarities between the surgeries of Rogers and Bonderman though.

    I may be in the minority here but i REALLY LIKE our semi-young nucleaus of starters.
    Verlander,Bonderman,Jackson,Porcello and Galarraga. I feel as long as they dont push the clearly injured Bondo and clearly under developed Porcello..that Detroit will have a pretty decent rotation as soon as 2010.

  15. Chris in Dallas

    March 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I think the Tigers can have a decent rotation THIS year if each guy performs reasonably close to his capabilities. Verlander pretty clearly just had an unlucky year in ’08, Bonderman has shown he can be a solid #2 guy when/if he’s healthy, Galarraga had a nice breakout (even if I expect him to regress some) and Jackson’s performance in ’08 started to catch up to his raw stuff. The fifth starter spot is up in the air, but you figure one guy out of Miner-Willis-Robertson will be able to contribute something positive. I think these cats can be something like the 5th or 6th best rotation in the AL if all goes well.

  16. Mark in Chicago

    March 2, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Well if our trend of following the White Sox by one season continues, then we would be on pace for the 2008 Sox, which means we should have pretty good pitching and a shot at the division.