Jeremy Bonderman struggled Monday in his return from the disabled list, allowing six runs over four innings in his first start in more than a year, and the Tigers sent him right back to the DL this afternoon.
Bonderman's stuff was noticeably lacking following shoulder surgery, as he averaged just 89.6 miles per hour with his fastball Monday after clocking in at 92-94 mph prior to going under the knife.
As skipper Jim Leyland put it: "If you were a scout and not the manager, I would have said he just didn't look like he was quite ready."
And even with a plus fastball Bonderman was never all that effective, posting a 4.74 ERA in nearly 1,000 innings with a career-best mark of 4.08 in 2006. Much of his mediocrity stemmed from sub par off-speed pitches and that hasn't changed, so if Bonderman can't rediscover the missing 3-4 mph on his fastball it's going to be extremely tough for him to reemerge as more than a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Unfortunately for the Tigers he's owed $12.5 million this season and another $12.5 million in 2010, so much like with Dontrelle Willis they have no choice but to be patient. For now at least Willis remains in Detroit's rotation despite showing similarly diminished stuff while going 1-3 with a 6.60 ERA and 16/20 K/BB ratio in six starts.