Staging Bonderman, Thames Rehab, Guillen’s MRI

Once again it is time to wrap-up some injury news.

Jeremy Bonderman

Bonderman is set to make another rehab start for the Mud Hens on Tuesday night. It seems clear that while he has some things working, he is still building up arm strength. He was quite good for 5 innings before faltering his last time out, and his velocity is still a couple ticks away. Fortunately the Tigers starters have been dependable and Detroit doesn’t need to rush his return.

Which makes me think that the team may be setting him up to return on June 8th, the day of a doubleheader that falls in the middle of a stretch of 13 days without an offday. The Tigers would be forced to add a starter or force someone to go on short rest.

After Tuesday there would be time for Bonderman to make one more start prior to that June 8th date. Things don’t line up exactly for his return, but this might make sense.

Marcus Thames

Thames will be picking up the post game meals for Toledo for the next week of so. He made his first rehab start today (1 for 4 with a walk and strikeout) and the plan is that he will alternate between the outfield and DH as he accumulates 30 or so plate appearances.

Carlos Guillen

Things aren’t progressing well for Guillen and his injured shoulder. He had an MRI done and the Tigers are awaiting the results.

33 Comments

  1. Allen

    May 26, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Bilfer,

    I am a big Bonderman fan, and I think he could really solidify a great rotation for the Tigers when he returns. But due to the recent injuries he has faced, and the fact that he really has two good pitches with his power arm, wouldn’t moving him to the bullpen at some point make sense? Maybe not this year, or the next, but before his career is over. I was wondering what your take on this was.

    Especially if Galarraga works things out, what do we do? Send Porcello down? Release Willis? Make a trade for a prospect? I guess this is a great situation to be in though.

    Thanks for you thoughts (or anyone else’s)

  2. Eric Cioe

    May 26, 2009 at 12:30 am

    You know who else has two pitches? Josh Beckett, Ervin Santana, AJ Burnett, etc. Bonderman can succeed just fine in the rotation with two good pitches and his good command.

    At this point, I’d put Galarraga in the bullpen when Bonderman comes back. Or possibly Porcello, to limit his innings in June and July. But if Bonderman is healthy, he’s absolutely one of the five best starters on the team.

    • Ryan P.

      May 26, 2009 at 8:13 am

      I’m not sure if Santana is the example that you’re looking for after last night :)

    • chief

      May 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm

      Edwin Jackson also has two pitches.

  3. Coach Jim

    May 26, 2009 at 1:51 am

    The team is clicking so well right now, I would be afraid of making the wrong roster move. Not so much of bringing in the injured players, but sending someone out. Could that someone be the reason the team is gelling?

  4. Kyle J

    May 26, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Bringing Bondo back for that 13-game stretch makes sense. Right now, Porcello’s on track to start the first game in that stretch. So you could even pitch the 3-6 guys (Porcello, Galarraga, Willis, Bonderman) twice each during that stretch to see who’s in rhythm without making anyone go more than 5 days between starts.

    Short-term problem. Long-term strength.

  5. Anthony Lewis

    May 26, 2009 at 10:58 am

    At this point I see Armando getting the rotation boot. Obviously there are still a few games from now until then, but right now is the guy having the hardest time on the hill.

    Bondo sounds like he is going to be okay, but he’s also far from a sure thing. Three really stable starters out of five is nothing to complain about though especially after last year.

  6. Mr. X

    May 26, 2009 at 11:16 am

    IMO, Bonderman really doesn’t deserve a rotation spot yet. I don’t think he’s one of the top 5 or even 6 on the staff right now. To me, he’s got about as much to prove as Nate Robertson before being rotation worthy. Seriously , he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors for a year and he hasn’t been consistency good since July of 2007.

  7. Chris in Dallas

    May 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    We’ll see how Bonderman’s start goes tonight. If he manages to perform well in his next couple of outings, you could make a case that Galarraga draws the short straw since he has options remaining.

  8. Dave T.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I bet armando comes down with some mystery ailment instead of being sent to the pen

  9. Mark in Chicago

    May 26, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Armando has options left, so if he can’t get straightened out in the next couple starts, he could be sent down (credit: Chris in D).

    An alternative would be to send Porcello to double-A where they could reduce his innings and leave him some room to pitch in the stretch run.

    Whatever happens, we’ve got options.

    • Ryan P.

      May 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm

      What’s the reasoning for sending a nearly-MLB-ready talent like Porcello (I think he’s proven that he is at the very least, that) to double-A instead of triple-A? I’ve never understood that.

      • Rick G

        May 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm

        I agree, I’d absolutely just let Porcello throw 5 innings or so every 6 or 7 days at Toledo, and spend the rest of his time up in Detroit to work with the staff here. Don’t even pretend it’s anything other than a way to keep him fresh for the stretch run. That would probably make the “demotion” a lot easier to swallow.

        That is, unless JB, AG, or DW flame out in a big way, then just reactivate him to his old rotation spot.

        • David

          May 26, 2009 at 5:47 pm

          This is the dumbest thing I have heard. Kid is pitching great in MLB – demote him for the stretch run…. HUH?

          You do know wins are wins are wins. If he were pitching like this last year he would be our ace, and this year I’d say he is nearly tied(see next parenthesis) with Jackson for effectiveness (due to the first few jitters starts).

          If winning is of any importance, the only option at the moment (ASSUMING BONDERMAN IS HEALTHY AND EFFECTIVE) would be to stick Armando in the pen, and have him fill the same role as Miner, and cut Lyon.

          I don’t see what is so hard. Let the kid go 5-7 innings every time out if he is effective or decent. Let him keep going past that if he has a no hitter or something special(or our pen is taxed) and yank him early if he is getting shelled.

          Should he be pitching 300 innings regular season? no way, 250 innings no way…

          200 innings prob not. His arm should be able to handle 160 innings if his # of pitches thrown/inning aren’t crazy. And that is what he is on pace to get. I love how they have been using him. I would be furious and think that they are retarded to demote him.

          • Eric Cioe

            May 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm

            You’re vastly underrating Lyon. He’s been doing fine lately, and he’s going to get some big outs for the Tigers this summer. He already has. His numbers are skewed by a couple of horrible outings. But he certainly doesn’t deserve to be cut.

          • Chris in Dallas

            May 26, 2009 at 6:43 pm

            I don’t know what there is to like about Lyon thus far. 4 HR in 19 IP. Blech. More BB than K. A 1.5 WHIP. It’s not like he was any great shakes in the NL either. I’ve seen enough.

            As for Porcello, any talk of sending him to the minors is ludicrous. I’m thinking you don’t want him to go much more than 160 IP. You can cut down on the workload by skipping selective starts throughout the year, particularly if the Tigers can maintain a bit of a cushion in the standings. I think JL has handled him perfectly thus far and will continue to do so a la Verlander in ’06.

          • Andre in Chi

            May 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm

            Chris,

            I agree that, looking at Lyon’s stats as a whole, there’s a lot to be concerned about. However, say you eliminate his two best/worst games (especially the marathon game vs MIN where he was arguably used beyond his normal role), what you’re left with is that he’s at least serviceable. The HR and BB rate are troublesome, but nothing a good month can’t sort out.

  10. Mr. Jimmy

    May 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I’m guessing there are a few American League hitters that would disagree that Porcello is only “nearly” MLB ready. I think the kid is here to stay.

  11. Mike R

    May 26, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    If we’re going on results, put Galarraga in the pen.

    If we’re going by needing to have Porcello available in September, put him in the pen and that helps limit his innings. I don’t think Galarraga’s as good as his first few starts, but I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s been his last few either — somewhere in between.

  12. David

    May 27, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Chris and I are in 100% agreement. Mike you have to go by results. I don’t think Armando is as bad as he has shown lately either, however he needs to right the ship and soon for his sake.

    I think yanking Rick out of the rotation claiming stretch run is downright stupid – about as dumb as telling me Justin Verlander should bat third for the Tigers. IF he falters in several(3 or more) consecutive starts THEN you MIGHT consider it.

    Eric first I’d like to preface this by saying you and I usually agree. But, you think Lyon is good? Or even decent? Are we watching the same guy?!! The Tigers basically said bye bye to Rincon for having an ERA over a full run LOWER than Lyons with a smaller sample size. He has already lost three games for us. I don’t really know what you mean by lately – he has a 7.27 ERA in May. It has been taking him an average of 17.23 pitches to get through an inning! and excluding Miner he has the worst WHIP on the team as well. He can’t go more than a few outs or really gets nailed.

    In sum, he has been a horrible acquisition and should be walking a tightrope. If I were DD it would be either his or Robertson’s @$$ I’d be shipping to Toledo and most likely the former.

    • billfer

      May 27, 2009 at 6:20 am

      David – at the time Eric wrote his post, which was prior to last night’s outing, Lyon had been pitching decent in the month of May. Five of the 7 runs he allowed came in his 3rd inning of work against the Twins in the extra inning game when he was simply left in way too long. I’m not going to hold that outing against him (and I don’t think Eric was either), especially since he was good in the first 2 innings of that game.

      Rincon had a much shorter leash to begin with. He hadn’t had success in the big leagues since 2006. Lyon has a better track record so he gets longer to work things out.

      That said, now Lyon has now allowed 5 homers and has been a disappointment.

  13. David

    May 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I realized that Eric wrote that before his implosion yesterday which effectively put the game out of reach, any chance we had at staging a comeback was squashed by him.

    Either way you slice it I think he is the weakest link and needs to say goodbye assuming – Bonderman is healthy and pitching effectively. In my mind it is either him or Gum Time, and I don’t think they want to drop that guy for several stronger reasons that I won’t get into here.

  14. Chris in Dallas

    May 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I was a bit nervous about Lyon after he gave up the back-to-back-to-back-to-back (was that enough back’s?) to the Red Sox in Spring Training. His regular season performance has done nothing to ease my anxiety. If I’m in charge of the roster for this team, he’s a guy on a very short leash. Like a 1 more stinkbomb short leash.

  15. Mark in Chicago

    May 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Some people need to read my post again since I think it’s being taken wildly out of context.

    My point about potentially sending Porcello to the minors is rooted in reality: when Bonderman comes back, somebody has to go somewhere. They aren’t going to pay Bondo $12 million to pitch out of the bulllpen, and they aren’t going with a 6-man rotation. I gave two possibilities: Armando goes down since he has options remaining, or Porcello goes down. You can’t “skip selective starts” to keep Porcello’s innings down when you have 6 starting pitchers, and it’s probably not wise to move him (or Galarraga) back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. Not mentioned but also an alternative would be to DFA Willis or release a reliever (I’m looking at you, Nate Robertson). We’re already eating Sheff’s $14 million, so I figure those are low-probability options. We probably aren’t going with a 13-man pitching staff, either. I don’t know who DD would be willing/able to trade.

    I did not say: “demote him for the stretch run”, I said the opposite: manage his innings in the minors so you can USE HIM down the stretch at the ML level. I thought I was pretty clear on that point, but maybe not. I also did not say: “yank Porcello out of the rotation”. I agree that the decision should be based on results. Read my post again if it’s not clear, but I stated, “if Armando can’t get straightened out, he could be sent down”. This was my first point.

    It’s also possible to manage RP’s innings in the majors, and if Galarraga is sent down, I expect that would happen. My only point on this topic is that we have options (the point was made as an extension of the “Bonderman almost ready to return” discussion. Again, I thought that was pretty clear, but maybe not).

    • Andre in Chi

      May 27, 2009 at 12:55 pm

      Mark,

      I heard you wanted DD to trade Porcello to the WSox for Colon. Is that true? If so that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of!

      (j.k.) some people decided to channel their inner-Quenville’s, I thought I’d give it a try too :)

      • Mark in Chicago

        May 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm

        Porcello for David Eckstein is a starting point for a conversation. We need more ‘grit’, ‘grinder’, and ‘hustle’.

      • Chris in Dallas

        May 27, 2009 at 1:02 pm

        Shoot. Colon is a Cy Young Winner! I’d do that in a heartbeat! I can’t stop using exclamation points! I guess it’s my juvenile sense of humor, but every time I see Bartolo’s name in print, I think of, you know, colon. Where poop comes from.

    • Chris in Dallas

      May 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm

      It’s fairly obvious that Porcello is going to be in the rotation until his performance dictates he shouldn’t be. He’s not going to the bullpen or minors. The question becomes how to fit 6 pitchers into 5 spots when and if Bonderman is able to pitch in the majors. Verlander/EJax/Porcello are firmly entrenched as of May 27. Willis seems to have turned a corner, but I’m not convinced that he’ll be able to stay that way. At the same time, he’s at least earned himself some rope for the time being. Galarraga has been brutalized this month, and isn’t showing signs of getting any better. He’s got options. Either he comes down with an “injury” and goes on the DL or is optioned out. I don’t really think there’s a role for him in the bullpen – he’s shown he can be an effective starter, so I don’t think putting him in the Robertson role where he pitches maybe once a week is going to help him get straightened out.

      As for Porcello’s workload, he’s been handled just fine so far. He’s maxed out at 95 pitches once, and all of his other starts he’s only thrown pitch counts in the 80′s. I think the # of pitches he throws is more important than the inning totals. Looking at Verlander’s 2006, I think you’ll find a blueprint of what they will do with Porcello. Verlander threw more pitches that year but he also was 23, not 20. Leyland used the ASB to reshuffle the rotation and get him 11 days off between starts and also skipped his rotation turn in the second half to save some innings. I imagine something similar will happen with Porcello. He’s been averaging about 5.5 innings per start. If you find a way to limit him to 28 or so starts, his inning totals won’t be a problem.

      • Mark in Chicago

        May 27, 2009 at 1:07 pm

        Agree completely, Chris. I think the more likely scenario affects Galarraga moreso than Porcello. I don’t know if they’ll stick Armando on the DL with some phantom injury (they are already under close scrutiny for Dontrelle’s anxiety disorder), and why take the risk if you can just send him down?

        Willis needs to keep pitching decently because there’s really no other place for him.

      • David

        May 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm

        Yes yes and yes!

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