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Bruce Rondon expected to be ready and willing for Tigers spring training

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Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon got sent home early last season because of a lack of effort. He was then involved in a crazy benches-clearing brawl in the Venezuelan Winter League. And he also recently contracted the chikungunya virus, which caused him to miss a scheduled appearance on the Tigers’ annual caravan tour around the state of Michigan.

An ugly string of events, but the hard-throwing 25-year-old right-hander is expected to report to spring training on time and should be a full participant from the get-go. Tigers GM Al Avila spoke this weekend with Aaron McCann of MLive.com

“That virus, his virus, it’s a contagious thing,” Avila said Saturday during TigerFest at Comerica Park. “Even though right now he’s probably OK, our doctors felt why put the other guys at risk?

“It was more of a precaution to keep him there, because he’s still not 100 percent ready to go. But from everything our doctors are telling me, he should have no issues in spring training.”

Rondon was once considered the Tigers’ closer of the future and he earned five saves as a fill-in last season, but he has taken a tumble down the bullpen depth chart. He finished the 2015 campaign with a 5.81 ERA in 35 total appearances.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.