LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Jeremy Bonderman is attempting to make a comeback to the major leagues.
The former Detroit Tigers pitcher had elbow-ligament replacement surgery Tuesday in the hopes of reviving his career after a two-year absence.
“I’d like to get into a camp next spring and maybe start off the season in the minor leagues,” the 29-year-old Bonderman said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I just want another shot and give it one more chance.”
Bonderman hasn’t pitched since 2010 when he was 8-10 and had a 5.53 ERA over 29 starts. The right-hander’s career record is 67-77 with a 4.89 ERA in 193 starts over eight seasons with the Tigers.
Detroit wasn’t interested in bringing him back in 2011 and Bonderman said he “blew out” his elbow that winter, trying to get ready to sign with the Cleveland Indians.
“I was burned out,” he said. “Now, I’ve got the itch to play again and I’m in better shape than I was a couple years ago.”
Oakland drafted Bonderman in the June 2001 draft, making him the first U.S. resident to be drafted after his junior year in high school. Bonderman, who is from Pasco, Wash., skipped his senior year in high school after earning a general equivalency diploma. Detroit acquired Bonderman in 2002 as part of a three-way deal that sent pitcher Jeff Weaver to the New York Yankees
Bonderman lost 19 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2003 — for a Tigers team that lost an AL-record 119 games — and won at least 11 games in each of the next four seasons.
He was 14-8 in 2006 and had a 3.10 ERA in three postseason starts to help Detroit reach the World Series for the first time since 1984. He was then rewarded with a $38 million, four-year deal.
After Bonderman had a winning record in three straight seasons, a blood clot in his right shoulder stunted a promising career in 2008 and he never fully recovered from the setback.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was glad to hear Bonderman is trying to get back on the mound.
“He’s one of the good guys — good for him,” Leyland said. “I hope it works out.”
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