The Tigers finalized their 25-man roster for Opening Day today, placing right-handed reliever Bruce Rondon on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Justin Verlander will remain on the active roster for another couple days, but his status for starting against the Cleveland Indians next weekend is still uncertain.
Rondon, who missed the entire 2014 season after having Tommy John surgery last March, had an up-and-down spring. He struck out nine hitters in 7 1/3 innings, but allowed a 4.91 ERA and 1.64 WHIP, including two home runs. Rondon will be placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 1. The earliest he would be able to return to action is April 17, when the Tigers start a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. The Tigers are off on April 16.
Verlander has been sidelined since March 27, when he left his start against the Toronto Blue Jays with a right triceps cramp. He was scratched from his next start, and the injury had eventually become bad enough that he was expected to join Rondon on the disabled list to begin the season. However, Verlander said that he felt "extremely good" after throwing off of flat ground on Saturday. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, and will face live hitters on Tuesday if all goes well. Barring any setbacks, this timetable still puts him on track to start against the Indians on April 12.
Verlander would still be eligible to pitch on April 12 if he is placed on the disabled list. The team could date the move retroactive to March 28, the day after his last spring training start. If Verlander goes on the DL, however, odds are that he will not make that start against the Indians. The club would likely call up Kyle Lobstein, a lefthander who had a strong spring and struck out 10 in a start against the Indians last September.
Moving Rondon to the disabled list gives the Tigers 25 players on their active roster heading into the season. The bullpen, a hotbed of controversy throughout the offseason, will consist of Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain, Angel Nesbitt, and lefthanders Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Krol. Rondon was one of several relievers in competition for the final few slots, along with lefthanders Blaine Hardy and Kyle Ryan.
Catchers: Alex Avila, James McCann
Infielders: Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, Nick Castellanos, Hernan Perez, Andrew Romine
Outfielders: J.D. Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony Gose, Rajai Davis
Starting pitchers: David Price, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Alfredo Simon, Shane Greene
Bullpen: Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain, Angel Nesbitt, Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Krol