Bruce Rondon cleared to resume throwing

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Tigers right-hander Bruce Rondon made just one regular-season appearance after September 2 due to tenderness in his throwing elbow and has not pitched yet in the 2013 postseason. But the hard-throwing 22-year-old Venezuelan is still working to get back.

MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Rondon began a throwing program this weekend at the Tigers’ spring training complex in Florida and has experienced no issues so far with his right elbow. He’s only doing light games of catch and still has quite a few hurdles to jump, but the fact that the Tigers are keeping his rehab program going suggests that they believe he could be available if the team is able to advance to the World Series.

Rondon posted a 3.45 ERA and 30 strikeouts across 28 2/3 innings of relief this season for the American League Central-champion Tigers while averaging 97.9 mph with his fastball. He could very well be Detroit’s closer next year, whether or not impending free agent Joaquin Benoit is brought back.

Michael Pineda throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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According to MLB.com associate reporter Jarrid Denney, right-hander Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday morning at Target Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this winter by the Twins, who are probably more focused on what he might be able to do in 2019 rather than 2018.

He had the reconstructive elbow surgery last July 18, so he won’t be an option for the Minnesota rotation until probably late August or September of this year. Still, that deal seems like a nice gamble given the price point and the possibility that he will regain his form as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. That he’s making steady progress in his rehab makes the situation all the more encouraging.

Pineda, 29, holds a 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 687 strikeouts in 680 career major league innings.