LAKELAND, Fla. Pure confidence.
Thats what Tigers rookie Bruce Rondon, the teams potential closer, displayed in one scoreless yet hectic inning in Saturday's 10-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
His 100 mph-plus fastball and above-average slider have been well-documented. But how would he handle pitching between the lines against major leaguers and getting out of a jam?
Rondon passed both of those tests, displaying a sense of certainty at all times.
Hes a very confident kid, Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. If I had that kind of stuff, Id be walking out with my chest out, too.
Rondon struck out J.P. Arencibia, Torontos regular catcher, on a fastball with runners on second and third and one out. Rondon flashed a quick leg hitch and nodded before taking the throw back from Avila.
Asked if that was a tribute to Jose Valverde, the former Tigers closer who mentored him, Rondon said, No, its mine. All mine.
Arencibia was the designated hitter on Saturday, and starting catcher...