OAKLAND -- If injured Tigers relievers Bruce Rondon and Phil Coke are going to get to the playoffs, they're going to have to go through Florida to get there. Both have been sent to the Tigers' instructional league session in Lakeland to work out and rehab in hopes of starting a throwing program that would get them ready for potential duty in the American League Championship Series.
Both were left off the AL Division Series roster. Rondon has been dealing with tenderness in his elbow for the better part of the past month, while forearm flexor tendinitis has plagued Coke for the past couple weeks.
The fact that they're working at least creates hope that they might be ready for later rounds of the postseason, rather than simply being shut down for the season. At this point, though, it's hard to tell how realistic that is.
Two more relievers, left-hander Darin Downs and righty Evan Reed, are also working out in instructional ball. They're serving as insurance in case the Tigers have to replace an injured pitcher on their active roster.
Jeremy Bonderman, who spent most of the second half with the team after signing back with the club in July, is not working out. His season, and potentially his Tigers career, appears over.
Unlike the previous two postseasons, the Tigers did not send any extra position players to Florida to stay fresh. Their two potential replacements, outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo and catcher Bryan Holaday, are staying with the team, taking batting practice and defensive work before games.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less