Tigers rethinking reliance on Bruce Rondon?

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Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, on a “personal guess”, thinks Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is “scared stiff” about relying on Bruce Rondon in the closer’s role:

A personal guess is Leyland is scared stiff his kid closer isn’t ready. Minus an Opening Day closer he can trust, the Tigers could be in early trouble. In that dark scenario, Dombrowski will either be obliged to trade for a stand-in fireman, or borrow from the stable of seventh- and eighth-inning relievers in a community effort to finish games the Tigers should, on many days, be leading when that ninth arrives.

It’s going to be a white-knuckle month, however this issue plays out.

Rondon, just 22 years old, struck out 66 and unintentionally walked 24 last year with a 1.53 ERA in 53 innings of work between Single-A Erie, Double-A Erie, and Triple-A Toledo. Dombrowski joins an ever-growing list of general managers to toss out older baseball orthodoxy — relying on veterans with experience — to maximize value out of younger, cheaper players who are just as capable. 2012 saw only six players age 29 or younger post 30 or more saves, but it was down from a whopping 12 the year prior, the highest total of the 2000’s.

Should the Tigers feel Rondon isn’t a fit for the role yet, they can hand the ninth inning to Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, or Octavio Dotel.

Sean Doolittle to miss more time with stress reaction in bridge of left foot

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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will miss more time than expected as he is dealing with a stress reaction in the bridge of his left foot, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. Doolittle started feeling soreness in his left foot two weeks ago and went on the 10-day disabled list on July 10, retroactive to the 7th.

According to Zuckerman, Doolittle’s injury is similar to a bone bruise. The lefty will stop his rehab program and will likely miss several more weeks than expected. The injury caused Doolittle to not participate in the All-Star Game, but his hope was to return shortly after the second half began.

Doolittle, 31, has 22 saves and a 1.45 ERA with a 49/3 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings for the Nationals this season. Kelvin Herrera will likely get the lion’s share of save chances while Doolittle is out.