To add injury to... well, injury, Bruce Rondon saw famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews last week and was diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Tigers beat writer Jason Beck reported the news yesterday, but the story was (understandably) buried by the other prominent stories of the day.
In addition, Bruce Rondon saw Dr. Andrews last week, was diagnosed with flexor strain.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) October 21, 2013
Rondon only made one appearance for the Tigers after Sept. 2 and missed the entire postseason. He left Tigers fans salivating for the future in his final appearance of the 2013 season, striking out all three Minnesota Twins hitters he faced in one of the most dominant innings in recent memory.
Rondon's injury, first labeled by the team as "elbow inflammation," is not as harmless as it seems. It doesn't appear to be anywhere as severe as the muscle strain that Miguel Cabrera is dealing with, but elbow inflammation can take a long time to go away. Even when it appears to be gone, it can come back in an instant -- as we saw with Rondon after his last appearance of the 2013 season.
The good part about Rondon's diagnosis is that there doesn't seem to be any damage to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which runs just beneath the flexor musculature on the inner part of the elbow. The UCL is the most commonly injured ligament in pitchers, often leading to Tommy John surgery.
Like Cabrera, there is no reason to believe that Rondon will not be 100 percent by Spring Training next season. Any plans for him to play winter ball will likely be put on hold, but I would imagine that the Tigers would not have let Rondon pitch elsewhere this offseason even if healthy.