Bonderman's exam shows no damage
Right shoulder stiffness causes enough concern for test
LAKELAND, Fla. -- An examination of pitcher Jeremy Bonderman's sore right shoulder showed no major damage, confirming the Tigers' expectations that he had nothing more than inflammation.
"No problems," manager Jim Leyland said early Monday evening. "No major issues at all."
That's the best news Leyland and the club could have received out of the exam, which Detroit's medical staffers set up to make sure they weren't dealing with something bigger than they thought. Bonderman hasn't pitched since early last week after complaining of stiffness in his shoulder. He was scheduled to make his first Spring Training appearance last Saturday but was pushed to a simulated game so that the team could monitor his pitches. That, too, was scratched. Hence the call for the tests.
Bonderman flew to Detroit on Monday morning for an examination by one of the Tigers' team doctors. He was scheduled to return to Florida on Monday evening. The diagnosis means that he'll continue his round of anti-inflammatory medication and then see how he feels.
Once the soreness goes away, Bonderman will start throwing again, beginning by playing catch. That isn't exactly a set timetable, but Leyland said he expected it would be "very soon."
The Tigers, Leyland included, were expecting good news out of the exam. Still, Leyland was preparing his Spring Training rotation in case of bad news. Top prospect Rick Porcello, who had been scheduled to pitch in relief Monday, will instead start Wednesday, which was supposed to be Bonderman's day to pitch before he was shut down.
"Obviously, I'm concerned about Bonderman," Leyland said earlier Monday, before he received the diagnosis. "At this point, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't concerned."
Bonderman missed the second half of last season following surgery to relieve a blood clot caused by a pinched vein. The procedure removed the first rib from his left side, but didn't do anything structurally to Bonderman's throwing arm. Because of that, his rehab process has mainly involved rebuilding strength in his arm and shoulder.
Bonderman's progress since arriving in Lakeland last month has been enough that the Tigers have written him in for one of the four set spots in their rotation. This is the first sign of anything resembling a setback in his comeback.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.