Zumaya, Rodney improving in Minors
Leyland pleased after watching relievers in Toledo
DETROIT -- Manager Jim Leyland's trip to Toledo on Sunday night was a worthwhile one, but it doesn't mean Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya will be making the trip to Detroit in the coming days.
Leyland was at Fifth Third Field, along with third-base coach Gene Lamont and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, to get a first-hand look at Rodney and Zumaya on their respective rehab assignments. Rodney allowed a home run and a walk before striking out the side in the sixth inning, while Zumaya needed just 11 pitches to work the seventh.
"I was pleased with both of them," Leyland said Monday. "And we're going to stay the course."
That course does not include a call to the Majors before next week. Rodney is scheduled to report to Comerica Park on Tuesday, but only to work on his mechanics with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Jeff Jones in a side session. Leyland said the Tigers want him to "air it out" in that session so that coaches can work on his delivery when he's throwing at full strength, not just on the side.
"You can't make a bullpen session a game session," Leyland said. "But at the same time, we want to see what he's doing when he's throwing harder and if that's different than when he's not throwing as hard."
Rodney will then return to Toledo for his next relief appearance, currently scheduled for two innings on Friday. Zumaya will stay in Toledo and pitch two innings on Wednesday.
"There's no rush," Leyland said. "We're not going to hold them back. We're not going to keep them down there longer for any specific reason, and we're not going to bring them up here in a hurry for any specific reason. We're going to bring them up here when we feel they're ready, and I think it's going to be in the very near future."
Leyland said the important thing he took from their outings was their health. Beyond that, of course, was the velocity: Zumaya topped out at 98 mph on the Fifth Third Field radar gun.
But just the overall appearance of Zumaya left an impression on his manager.
"He's in the best shape I've ever seen him," Leyland said. "He looks absolutely tremendous. He looks great. He worked his tail off."
Rodney is expected to be back in the Majors before Zumaya, simply because of the extra innings Zumaya needs. Once they're both back, though, Leyland is hoping it brings a lift to the club. He has noticed a difference in recent days from the way they play. But Zumaya, he said, brings a lot of energy.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.