DETROIT -- Bruce Rondon is in the major leagues. Now the hard-throwing right-hander will try to earn a consistent role in the Detroit bullpen.
"He's not going to be the closer to start with," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That doesn't mean he will never close a game, it just means right now I want to break him in and get his feet wet in the big leagues a little bit and see what he looks like."
The 22-year-old Rondon was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday when the Tigers put reliever Octavio Dotel on the 15-day disabled list. Rondon has never pitched in a major league game. He was a candidate to become Detroit's closer in spring training, but he didn't end up making the team.
Now Dotel's injury gives him an opportunity.
"I'm going to get him out there and pitch him," Leyland said. "I don't want to paint myself in a corner because I don't know exactly how it will work out. I'd like to break him in a little bit easier, maybe the sixth inning or seventh inning, to start with."
Detroit's bullpen has no set closer. Tigers relievers were 1-4 with a 4.52 ERA heading into Tuesday night's game against the Kansas City Royals.
Dotel was put on the DL with right elbow inflammation, retroactive to Saturday. He has allowed seven runs in 4 2-3 shaky innings for the Tigers this season.
Closer Jose Valverde faltered toward the end of last season, and the Tigers were initially prepared to let him leave via free agency. But he's now in their minor league system, trying to work his way back up.
Rondon, meanwhile, had three saves over 7 2-3 scoreless innings with Toledo.
"He's done pretty well," Leyland said. "It hasn't been a significant amount of time, obviously. ... We'll just wait and see how things go up here."