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Tigers Pitching Staff Takes Big Hit

Detroit loses two big arms before the season has a chance to begin

It might not be for long, but the Detroit Tigers are going to be without two key pieces of their pitching staff on Opening Day as starter Justin Verlander (triceps cramp), and reliever Bruce Rondon (tendinitis in biceps) will begin the 2015 campaign on the disabled list. Verlander left his start on Monday with cramping in his right arm while Rondon was scratched from a scheduled relief outing Wednesday after experiencing pain in his right shoulder.

For Verlander, this will be his first trip to the DL but it is not expected to be a long one; he could still potentially make his first officially scheduled start of the season against the Cleveland Indians on April 12. The other option for the Tigers would be to send Verlander to Triple-A Toledo to make a start and have him join the rotation sometime after April 15. The Tigers have given a tentative timetable of Saturday or Sunday to get Verlander back on the mound to see how his arm feels before determining whether he will make that start in Cleveland on the 12 th.

For Rondon, the timetable for his return is a bit cloudier as an MRI examination revealed tendinitis in his biceps which will shut him down for anywhere from a couple of days to a week. Rondon missed the entire 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and will start the season on the DL for the second straight year. The Tigers will use the wait and see approach before deciding when to put Rondon back on a throwing program as the last thing they want to do is make their bullpen situation any worse than it already is.

Rondon was expected to be a key part of the Tigers bullpen and if this injury keeps him out of action for any extended time, Detroit may have to look elsewhere to replace him as the anchor what is, on paper, a very shaky bullpen at best.




Robert Gonzalez

Cleveland Indians Correspondent