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Pasco's Bonderman back on track for Detroit

PASCO -- Pasco native Jeremy Bonderman spent Thursday night helping out the Columbia Basin College athletic program.

Bonderman, his wife Amber and their newborn son were in attendance for the fourth annual Follow Your Dreams banquet fundraiser that raised $25,000 for athletic scholarships and facilities improvements.

The Bondermans purchased a table at the event, provided plenty of items for the silent auction, then purchased a number of items in both the silent and live auctions.

It's one of the ways he can give back to the community.

As for himself, the 27-year-old right-hander is champing at the bit to get back to the business of baseball.

Bonderman has spent the last two years recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. He had been suffering artery compression in his right (pitching) shoulder.

He's been limited to just 13 starts over the past two seasons after averaging 30 starts for his first five seasons.

"I'm 100 percent healthy," he proclaimed Thursday night. "I feel great."

The Tigers hope so. General manager Dave Dombrowski has Bonderman penciled in as the team's No. 4 starter for this coming season.

Bonderman spent much of last season rehabbing the shoulder. He got one start in for Detroit and pitched some at Triple-A Toledo.

"But I've been home most of the time since the injury," he said. "I've been doing a lot of stuff around the house."

And a little stuff outside.

A few years back, Bonderman had stated that it would be his dream to buy a parcel of land north of Pasco so that he could hunt every day.

But things have changed.

"I hunted every day, and I got sick of it," he said. "I went hunting in Oregon for a week, and one week in New Mexico. But that's it. I'm gonna find something else to do. Maybe snowmobiles when my contract (with the Tigers) runs out."

When you're injured and not playing, it's hard to feel being a part of the team when you can't contribute.

That's how Bonderman felt as he watched the Tigers lose a one-game playoff last October to the Minnesota Twins.

"I felt bad for the guys," he said. "It was hard, really hard."

And that's why he wants to get back on the mound for the Tigers -- to be a part of the team again.

He, Amber and the kids -- they also have a 3-year-old daughter -- leave for Lakeland, Fla., on Feb. 3, even though pitchers and catchers don't have to report until Feb. 19.

"That's still late for me," he said. "We'll go down and get settled in."

With spring training brings optimism.

"If we all stay healthy and play to our capabilities, we could do well," he said. "But that's just like any other team."

As for him?

"I'm done with the rehab. I'm ready to go."