Right-hander Bruce Rondon, who was competing for a spot in the Tigers’ bullpen, will miss the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery.
Rondon was actually in the mix for the closer job last spring training, but instead got sent back to the minors because he couldn’t consistently throw strikes and ended up logging just 29 innings for the Tigers.
He showed a lot of promise upon returning to the big leagues, but missed nearly all of September with an elbow strain that has now proven to be a more serious injury.
Rondon is huge (listed at 275 pounds), throws very hard, and racks up tons of strikeouts, so he’ll remain in the Tigers’ plans even after the missed year. And if all goes well he’ll be competing for a spot in the bullpen again next spring at age 24.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.