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02/28/09 12:40 PM EST

No simulated game for Bonderman

Right-hander's frustrations mount as shoulder stiffness lingers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers are shelving starter Jeremy Bonderman for at least the next couple days while he takes anti-inflammatory medication in an effort to relieve the stiffness that has bothered his shoulder this spring.

Bonderman was originally scheduled to start Saturday's Spring Training game against the Mets, but Tigers officials decided a couple days ago to move him to a simulated game Saturday morning so that they could better control his pitch count. That simulated game was canceled this morning after Bonderman's shoulder was still sore on Friday.

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Both Bonderman and manager Jim Leyland emphasized that they're using caution at this point in the spring, with five more weeks of games ahead of them before they open the regular season. Still, Bonderman couldn't hide his frustration that the soreness he anticipated has lingered.

"I expected it to feel sore," Bonderman said Saturday, "but I was expecting it to go away. It just kind of lingered. I just felt it was better to take the time now than take it later."

Bonderman said he felt the soreness in both of his batting practice sessions. He was told by the medical staff that they feel it's part of the process getting extension on his throws.

Bonderman won't do any throwing until he gets through the medication and the soreness goes down. When that happens, he'll start by playing catch and then work back to throwing shape.

"It's a matter of doing what's best for me and hopefully for the club," Bonderman said.

Bonderman missed the second half of last season following surgery to relieve a blood clot caused by a pinched vein. The procedure removed the first rib from Bonderman's left side, but didn't do anything structurally to his throwing arm. Because of that, his rehab process has mainly involved rebuilding strength in his arm and shoulder rather than any scar tissue.

Bonderman's progress since arriving in Lakeland last month has been enough that the Tigers have written him in for one of the four set spots in their rotation. This is the first sign of anything resembling a setback in his comeback.

"I'm not going to get excited about it," Leyland said. "I'm going to let the [medical staff] take care of it."

Leyland also said Saturday that reliever Joel Zumaya will have his next outing pushed back a day. Zumaya threw an inning of relief Thursday against the Nationals and was scheduled to pitch again Sunday against the Pirates, but will instead be penciled in for Monday's exhibition against Florida Southern College.

Leyland said the Zumaya move was his decision, and that there's no problem with him.

"He's a guy we're going to monitor," Leyland said. "He was going to pitch on two days' rest. I'm going to give him three.

"Bondo and Zumaya are the two guys we're monitoring closer than anybody else, and we're going to do that. Whatever the situation dictates, that's what we're going to do."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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