Rondon Making Real Progress

Things are looking up for Rondon

At this time last year, Francisco Rondon was returning from the disabled list after being sent to surgery to end his 2010 season. Now with his head back in the game and feeling 100 percent on the mound, the Dominican native is beginning to show how much his hard work has paid off and the improvements he's made to his pitches.

"He has made quite a bit of progress," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "He got up to a little bit of a slow start, of course in the early going, he wasn't being used a lot and in about mid-May he started to put some things together.

"He has a great arm and when he has command of his pitches, you can understand exactly why everybody in this organization thinks that this guy has a chance to pitch at the Major League level. He has a good arm with good stuff and it is just a matter of if he can do all that consistently."

At 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, Rondon is focusing not on just one of his pitches, but all of them, taking in the common motto that practicing everything is what makes perfect.

"For my slider, I try to make sure that when I'm releasing, I do it accurately and that I keep my front side closed," Rondon said through the help of a translator. "I want to make sure I am releasing it out in front of me.

"I have always had confidence in my changeup. It has been pretty standard since I got here. [However], I am most comfortable with my fastball. I love it. As for my fastball command, I am doing a lot better. It is a process but I'm getting better every day."

As for the rest of the season, Rondon knows that there is always room for improvement. He admits to learning from his mistakes and taking one day at a time.

"I want to just keep working hard and follow the directions of the pitching coaches," he added. "I try to analyze what I did the day before and how I can improve and really, every day is a new day out there. You have to approach it fresh."

With quite a bit of the season still left to go, Rondon has plenty of time to try his stuff out on the other players of opposing organizations. With just the right amount of baby steps, it'll be no time before Rondon finds himself on center stage at Yankee Stadium.

"I see improvements in a lot of these guys and what they can do," Franklin said. "And be it that it is not as consistent as it can be, it's the baby steps of the progress that these guys need to make.

"Very subtle - do you take progress in big leaps and bounds and before you know it they've struck five to six to twelve innings together, nobody has gotten a hit or scored any rides. Rondon has done a good job so far. He has a great arm and has made quite a bit of progress."

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