Found January 26, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT -- Rookie Bruce Rondon, the Tigers' top prospect to close this season, is being considered by the Venezuelan national team to be its closer in the World Baseball Classic when competition begins in early March. I have heard a lot of talk about that, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said, but weve never been officially asked. Observations of Rondon during spring training will be critical to determining if he's indeed up to the challenge of replacing Jose Valverde. Losing two or three weeks of Grapefruit League outings would cut the teams evaluation period in half. I asked Dombrowski if he would intervene and have Rondon decline rather than leaving the choice up to him. I know what youre saying, Dombrowski said, but at this point, I would choose not to deal with something that has not been an official request. Well wait and see and talk about it if and when the time comes. Dombrowski touched on that possibility Saturday during a question-and-answer session at TigerFest. While describing Rondon as the leading candidate to be Detroits closer, Dombrowski added, They asked him to play for the World Baseball (Classic) club. Evidently Rondon hasn't been asked in an official capacity yet, though. Rafael Betancourt, who saved 31 games last year for the Colorado Rockies and had a 2.81 ERA, has elected to skip the World Baseball Classic. Major League single-season saves record-holder Francisco K-Rod Rodriguez (62 in 2008 with the Angels) is on the Venezuelan roster, but was 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA last year and didn't close for the Milwaukee Brewers. That leaves the Venezuelans in need of a closer who can get the job done, and Rondon has been effective in the Venezuelan Winter League. He's earned saves in nine of 10 opportunities. Turning down such an honor is difficult to do in Venezuela, where the passion for baseball is greater than in any other South American country. Baseball is No. 1 ahead of soccer in Venezuela, and that's not the case anywhere else on the continent. Venezuela already has Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera and starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez set on their roster.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Leyland looking for closer characteristics in Rondon

DETROIT Tigers manager Jim Leyland is going to talk about his rookie closer, Bruce Rondon, and his need to turn the page so often in the months ahead that Leyland will either lead to a revival in reading or of an old Bob Seger song. You remember Turn the Page by Ann Arbors Rockin Robert Seger, right? Well, anyway, Rondon, 22, is getting a shot at replacing Jose Valverde, who collapsed...

Detroit Tigers burning questions, part 1

The hot stove in regards to the Detroit Tigers isn’t exactly burning at this point in the offseason. Smoldering, maybe. The Tigers may very well make some additional moves to tighten up the roster but by and large the attention is turning to the roster as it currently sits. With that in mind, here are some burning questions that fans are demanding answers to. This will be a 2-part...

Hunter fires up TigerFest crowd

DETROIT -- Torii Hunter made his way to the radio-interview platform at TigerFest and, before he was even introduced, received a rousing ovation from several hundred fans. A fan wearing a Tigers cap and jacket in the third row of folding chairs began to chant, TORE-ee! TOR-ee! The fans around him joined in, too, greeting Detroits new right fielder. Hunter took a seat and was taken...

Torii Hunter Jr. healing fast

DETROIT -- Torii Hunter Jr. might be ready to play for Notre Dame next season after all. Speaking at TigerFest Saturday, Torii Hunter Sr. said his son is progressing ahead of schedule after breaking his left femur during practice for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the beginning of January. "He's doing a lot better," Hunter Sr. said. "He's on crutches...

Tigers, fans get revved up for baseball

DETROIT -- The weather's cold, but baseball fever was hot at Comerica Park on Saturday. The Tigers arrived to see 10,000-plus ardent fans waiting in line around the block to get into TigerFest, the team's annual winter baseball carnival. "It makes it all worth it when you see them packed around the corner out there," center fielder Austin Jackson said. "They...

Justin Verlander Wants to Play His Entire Career in Detroit

Players do not often reveal their motivations these days.  It can hurt their contract negotiations when working on an extension.  Justin Verlander is not concerned with that, though.  At the Detroit Tigers' annual luncheon, Verlander made no secret of his desire to spend the rest of his career in Detroit. Jason Beck of MLB.com says the question about what Verlander wants...

Spotlight will be on Rondon in Tigers' spring training

The spotlight of spring training is going to be shining largely on rookie Bruce Rondon. The almost-anointed successor to departed Jose Valverde as Detroit's closer was the subject of the most questions as the Tigers began their winter publicity caravan prior to last weekend. Rondon, 22, has yet to throw a pitch in the majors but when he does the radar gun will likely clock...

VWL Coming to a Close as Omar Infante Appears

The Venezuelan Baseball League Final started Wednesday in the city of Valencia. Cardenales de Lara and Navegantes del Magallanes will vie for the championship trophy. Although with little presence of Tigers, many had outstanding participation in the playoffs and it is important to highlight. None more noteworthy than the appearance in January of Omar Infante.

Justin Verlander: One-Team Pitcher and HOFer?

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander recently stated that he would like to spend his entire career in the Motor City and earn Hall of Fame honors in the process.  What is the likelihood of this happening? According to baseballreference.com career leaders for WAR (wins above replacement), of the Top 50 pitchers of all-time only Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson, Carl Hubbell, Jim Palmer...

Look Back and Ahead to 2013: Third Base

Coming into 2012, one of the biggest questions the team was facing was whether or not superstar Miguel Cabrera could successfully make the shift back to third base. Cabrera was able to hold his own, but just how well did he do, and was it good enough to stick there long term?
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.