Bonderman, who began the season on the disabled list with shoulder soreness stemming from last summer's surgery to correct a blood vessel restriction, had runners on base in every inning thanks to seven hits and three walks against Norfolk. He escaped further damage by stranding seven runners on base, including at least one in all but one of his innings.
The only inning in which Bonderman didn't strand a runner was his last. Brandon Pinckney took him deep to left in the sixth for a solo homer, Pinckney's first home run on the season. The only other extra-base hit off Bonderman was a Justin Turner double.
Bonderman's unearned run came about in the second inning thanks to a Robby Hammock drive to deep center field that Jason Tyner dropped for a three-base error, setting up a Melvin Dorta RBI single.
Bonderman threw 60 of his 97 pitches for strikes. He struck out four. His fastball topped out at 90 mph and sat consistently a couple mph slower. He consistently threw in the lower 90s before his surgery, and both Bonderman and the Tigers expect him to eventually get there.
"The first two innings, I was a little frustrated with the way I was throwing," Bonderman told reporters in Toledo after the game. "After the second inning, I settled down and just tried to use what I have better. My velocity will be there when it's there. I can't control that."
Bonderman is currently a week and a half into his rehab assignment, which began May 16 at Class A West Michigan. He can continue pitching in the Minors for up to 30 days, which would take him to June 15, before the Tigers could have to make a decision on whether to call him up to Detroit.
So far, the club hasn't announced any plans for what's next with the 26-year-old right-hander, but another start for the Mud Hens on Sunday appears likely. Though speculation has centered on Bonderman possibly cracking the Tigers' rotation soon, that mainly came from Bonderman's initial statements that he might only need one or two starts before he's ready to return.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less