LAKELAND, Fla. -- What has been a slow, building process for Jeremy Bonderman and his changeup reached a new point for the Tigers starter on Thursday. He felt better throwing his offspeed pitch than he did throwing his other stuff.
"Changeup and breaking ball were good today," Bonderman said Thursday after his fourth outing of the spring. "Fastball, I had no idea where it was even going. Hopefully it's just a little hiccup in Spring Training."
Bonderman allowed three runs on five hits over four innings in his previous start last Saturday against the Blue Jays, but had shown more progress on the offspeed pitch. Thursday was more of the same in that particular facet, with three earned runs on six hits over four innings.
He retired the side in the first inning around a Chipper Jones double, but in the second, he could feel his command slipping on his fastball. Joe Borchard drove a ball off the center-field fence on one hop to drive in Javy Lopez before Martin Prado singled in Borchard. Another walk and a single set up a two-run triple from Brent Lillibridge before Bonderman recovered to retire his final two hitters.
"First inning I felt good," he said. "Second inning I kind of slowly deteriorated. Next thing I knew, I was sitting out there going, 'What am I doing?' It's just one of those days."
Bonderman is on track for his next start on Tuesday against the Nationals. He'll have one or two more outings after that, depending on whether he pitches during the Tigers' exhibition series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on the final weekend before Opening Day.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.