At Tigers camp, all eyes on Rondon, Mercedes

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski has had to answer plenty of questions about Bruce Rondon this winter, which he expected as soon as they named him a closer candidate. But he also made a prediction of sorts on Sunday.

"Don't be surprised in another year if you're sitting here and we're talking about Melvin Mercedes," Dombrowski said. "This guy, when you see him, I don't know if he'll do it here, but he throws 97, 98, 99 [mph] and his breaking ball's improved, too."

Rondon dominated the talk on the first day of camp, especially with the easy delivery that sent fastballs to the plate in his bullpen session. Yet Mercedes, who did not throw, still generated some buzz.

He's a big right-hander, even bigger than the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Rondon, and he has almost as big of an arm. By Dombrowski's admission, the 22-year-old is probably not ready for the big leagues quite yet, but he's somebody they're watching.