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The Rodney Plan

After his horrifying eight-pitch, eight-ball performance on Friday night, Fernando Rodney (at least in my mind) seemed ticketed for a "you can't come back until you can throw a strike" demotion to Single-A Lakeland. But maybe the Tigers feel like they've already gone that way enough with Dontrelle Willis. Of maybe they don't think Rodney is the same sort of reconstruction project that Willis is, and can work on him better if he's with the major league club.

Either way, Jim Leyland announced his plan for Rodney before last night's game against the Padres, and I think this can safely go into the WWJTT? ("What Will Jim Try Today?") file.

"We're going to have Rodney start throwing about five minutes in the bullpen every other day, even on nights he's going to pitch. We'll have him play catch in the outfield, then throw to a catcher every other day for five minutes at half speed to see if we can get some rhythm going.

"We have to get him throwing strikes. Hopefully that might help him because he's just flinging it. That's not good enough."

As remedial as it might sound, Leyland has a major league point of reference for this throwing regimen. It's the same approach Jim Kaat took with his relievers when he was the Cincinnati Reds' pitching coach in 1984 and 1985.

I think the Tigers should perhaps take this even further and just show up randomly, like a drug tester, to make Rodney throw for five minutes. If he's at the movies, step into the lobby and start throwing. At a restaurant? Outside and throw. (Even better, get Pudge or Inge to dare Rodney to throw the ball at his chest.) If he's with a lady friend... well, she can wait five minutes, right?