Max Scherzer’s first spring start went off without a hitch. The same cannot be said for Bruce Rondon’s latest relief appearance. Rondon, who may be coughing away his shot at the Detroit Tigers’ closer role, served up a pair of runs in his one inning of work during a 6-1 loss to Atlanta.
Rondon coughed up a solo home run to Tyler Pastornicky, then allowed an RBI double — just the latest in a stretch of tough outings for the young fireballer.
Fister was not any better before Rondon, either. Pitching out of the bullpen behind Scherzer, Fister gave up three runs on five hits in two innings of work. He also served up a home-run ball, with B.J. Upton taking him deep.
The silver lining Sunday came from Scherzer’s debut. He tossed two perfect innings, striking out one.
Keep an eye on … Darin Downs. The lefty had a nice cup of coffee for the Tigers in 2012, with a 2-1 record and 3.48 ERA in 20.1 innings. He’s been sharp this spring, too, with his scoreless inning Sunday bumping him up to five consecutive shutout innings to open Grapefruit League action.
What’s Next: The Tigers make their Fox Sports Detroit debut for 2013 on Monday, up against the Astros. Rick Porcello will toe the rubber for the third time this spring.