Opening Day at Comerica Park is still 19 days away, but it's beginning to look like Fernando Rodney's shoulder might need more recovery time than that, according to today's Detroit Free Press. He was scheduled for a throwing session with Chuck Hernandez yesterday, but the Tigers' pitching coach bumped the workout to Thursday instead.
Cause for concern? Not according to Rodney, who thinks the coaches are just treating him cautiously despite no recent pain in that sore shoulder. Nonetheless, he insists he won't rush his rehabilitation just to be available for Opening Day. And that's probably smart, since coming back too soon is what got Rodney into trouble last season. However, this could leave the Tigers two relievers short when the season begins, and since the bullpen was already a concern, it's understandable if beads of sweat are forming on your forehead right now.
As both The Detroit Tigers Weblog and D-Town Baseball mentioned yesterday, however, Denny Bautista has been one of the pleasant surprises of Spring Training and could fill one of those openings nicely. (He has a player page at the Tigers' website now, if that's any indication of his future with the team. Of course, Matt Mantei does too, so maybe that means nothing.) This spring, Bautista hasn't allowed any runs while posting eight strikeouts in eight innings of work.