Bruce Rondon has never thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues. In his first session against hitters in Major League camp, he wanted one more pitch.
He's just 22 years old, but he's the Tigers' hope to take over the closer role, either out of camp or in the near future. He's also a 6-foot-3 giant listed at 275 pounds. If he wants another pitch, he can have another pitch.
He got another, which means that Jeff Kobernus got to stand in the box for another pitch from Rondon.
Not surprisingly, it was a fastball. Surprisingly, Kobernus lashed it back for a one-hopper up the middle, hitting Rondon's glove hand. After the initial wave of trepidation rushed through the crowd of coaches and officials watching behind the batting cage and others from behind the fence, Rondon broke the tension with a giant grin.
"It was surprising," he said through a translator.
With that, Rondon's first live batting practice session against hitters was over at 31 pitches. He got a few swings and misses, and he got a couple ground balls besides Kobernus' finale. More than anything, he got hitters standing and watching, which is what they normally do during these early batting practice sessions when pitchers have been working out a week and hitters just got started.