Jeremy Bonderman struggled Monday in his return from the disabled list,
allowing six runs over four innings in his first start in more than a
year, and the Tigers sent him right back to the DL this afternoon.
Bonderman’s stuff was noticeably lacking following shoulder surgery,
as he averaged just 89.6 miles per hour with his fastball Monday after
clocking in at 92-94 mph prior to going under the knife.
As skipper Jim Leyland put it: “If you were a scout and not the manager, I would have said he just didn’t look like he was quite ready.”
And even with a plus fastball Bonderman was never all that
effective, posting a 4.74 ERA in nearly 1,000 innings with a
career-best mark of 4.08 in 2006. Much of his mediocrity stemmed from
sub par off-speed pitches and that hasn’t changed, so if Bonderman
can’t rediscover the missing 3-4 mph on his fastball it’s going to be
extremely tough for him to reemerge as more than a back-of-the-rotation
Unfortunately for the Tigers he’s owed $12.5 million this season and
another $12.5 million in 2010, so much like with Dontrelle Willis they
have no choice but to be patient. For now at least Willis remains in
Detroit’s rotation despite showing similarly diminished stuff while
going 1-3 with a 6.60 ERA and 16/20 K/BB ratio in six starts.