When he planted on the delivery, Bonderman's left leg felt strange.
"All of I sudden I was like 'Uh oh, what just happened?'" Bonderman said. "I'm fine, but for a second there it was kind of [scary]."
Manager Jim Leyland and a team athletic trainer went to the mound to check on Bonderman, who remained in the game and went five innings.
"I didn't know what was going on," Leyland said. "[He] kind of hyper extended his knee."
Fortunately for the Tigers, their Opening Day starter is fine. The knee's fine, he got his work in and allowed two runs on four hits. By the time he finished his running and work in the trainer's room, the brief bit of anxiety was almost forgotten.
What wasn't forgotten was Bonderman's changeup.
"Today, I felt like I was able to locate the fastball and breaking balls good, and had decent changeups at times," Bonderman said. "I threw a lot of changeups tonight because I was getting frustrated with it, so I wanted to really throw it. I ended up throwing more than I'll probably ever throw."
Bonderman kept throwing his changeup but the results were mixed.
"I threw some good ones and then I was cutting some," he said. "I kept throwing them because I wanted to make sure I was throwing it with conviction."
Bonderman felt like he made progress with the pitch and, all things considered, he expects to be ready by Opening Day. He'll get one more Grapefruit League start to work on it some more.
"He couldn't get his changeup going at all tonight," Leyland said. "He threw quite a few of them, for whatever reason couldn't get the release point. He struggled with it tonight.
"It's been inconsistent, but that's why he threw a lot of them tonight. You never know for sure with a pitch like that. One day it just clicks, and all of a sudden you find that point and all of a sudden you've got it. He'll be inconsistent for a little while longer but he's throwing it. You can't do it by throwing it on the side. You've got to throw it with hitters up there."
Campusano to see specialist: Left-hander Edward Campusano will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday for another opinion on his left elbow.
Campusano underwent an MRI exam on his throwing elbow late Monday in Lakeland, Fla. The film from the exam was shipped out on Tuesday morning to Detroit, where Dr. Stephen Lemos at the Detroit Medical Center examined it.
The 24-year-old has no record and a 4.15 ERA this spring. In 8 2/3 innings he has 10 strikeouts and has allowed eight hits. Campusano struck out 81 and walked 17 in 55 1/3 innings at Class A last season. He is competing for a spot in the bullpen and the fact that he's a lefty and has an exceptional arm aren't the only reasons he has a chance to stick with the club.
The Tigers obtained the Dominican native from Milwaukee in December for cash considerations. The Brewers plucked Campusano from the Chicago roster in the Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs left him unprotected. So even though he was subsequently traded, Campusano keeps his Rule 5 status, meaning he must remain on the Major League roster for the entire season or be offered back to the Cubs for $50,000.
Quotable: "He's just a guy that you've kind of got to watch. If you're not careful, once in a while he can get out of sync and can be like a bull in a china shop. He's really improved from that last year. There's nothing wrong with that, he competes and wants it so bad, [but] sometimes you need to back off." -- Leyland, on Bonderman
Extra bases: Todd Jones blew a save opportunity Thursday night but got the win when the Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the ninth. .... Curtis Granderson drew praise from Leyland for driving in the winning run off a left-hander, Juan Lara. ... Placido Polanco's ability with the bat is well documented, but every now and then the second baseman turns in the kind of play that shows he remains an excellent glove man. Thursday night saw one of those plays when Polanco went to his left and made a diving catch of a sinking liner hit by Cleveland's Casey Blake to end the Indians' third inning. ... Pitching assignments for Saturday's split-squad games have been posted. Kenny Rogers will start against Atlanta in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Over at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Zach Miner will start against Houston and right-hander Jason Jennings. Right-hander Chad Durbin is also expected to pitch against the Astros. ... The Tigers players had their annual meeting with Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Don Fehr on Thursday afternoon. ... Rogers was presented with the 2006 King Tiger Award by representatives from the Mayo Smith Society before Thursday night's game. The award, named for the former Detroit manager, is presented to the Tigers player for both on-and off-field contributions.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less