SAN DIEGO -- One day after Fernando Rodney threw eight pitches and no strikes, he was back warming up in the Tigers bullpen. The difference was that he was throwing more than an hour before game time, while his teammates took batting practice.
It was a short, light side session with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Jeff Jones to try to help Rodney shore up his mechanics, and the mound sessions are going to become a habit.
"I'm going to have Rodney throwing every other day in the bullpen for about five minutes, see if we can get some rhythm and stuff going," manager Jim Leyland said. "We've got to get him throwing strikes."
Those sessions will proceed whether or not Rodney pitches in a game the previous night or is on track to pitch in the game that day. He'll be throwing at about half-speed.
Leyland said he got the idea from Jim Kaat, the longtime successful pitcher and broadcast analyst who served as a pitching coach with Cincinnati during the mid-80s.
"I think it's good," Leyland said. "I think it's good for their control."
Rodney's mechanics Friday made it apparent that he needed some adjustments, or at least to settle down into a consistent rhythm. Rodney walked Jody Gerut on four pitches to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, then did the same to Edgar Gonzalez while he was turning in preparation for a sacrifice bunt attempt.
"He's just flinging it," Leyland said. "That's not good enough."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.