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Tigers' Daniel Norris not showing any signs of rust after oblique injury

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He may have been on a pitch count but Norris dazzled with his display of a perfect game through five innings on Tuesday.

Duane Burleson/Getty Images

DETROIT -- Start the 2015 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. Get sent down to the Buffalo Bisons, the organization's Triple-A team. Get traded to the Detroit Tigers -- along with others -- in exchange for David Price. Oh, and you're starting a major league game for that new team. Get injured. Go on the disabled list for an oblique injury that you are told is likely to be season-ending. Recover from the DL in less than a month. Toss a perfect game through five innings.

That's been Daniel Norris' year in a nutshell.

"I don't even want to try (to think back on this year) right now," Norris said after the 2-1 walkoff win. "I'll try it, I don't know, two weeks into the offseason I'll have to just sit back and kind of replay it. But right now it's been such a whirlwind that I don't even know where to start."

Norris was frustrated in the first inning. He threw 19 pitches and that was too many to start the game, in his mind. His first batter faced, Adam Eaton, lasted seven pitches. He got Jose Abreu out on five, but Trayce Thompson proved to be equally tough to retire as Eaton.

Until Norris found his rhythm.

It wasn't what was working that made Norris effective, it was that everything was working well. The fastball command wasn't there in the first, but that changed from the second inning on. It didn't matter what he threw, the White Sox couldn't get a hit off of him.

"Fastball was pretty good," Norris said. "Curveball was good, I used a lot of curveballs and then split-change. Couple sliders here and there. Everything feeds off the fastball."

It's almost a shame that such a brilliant game had to happen on a night when Norris was so limited by a pitch count. But there are more important things to consider. Norris understood that and it was a topic discussed prior to the game between he and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. There was no debate when the fifth inning ended because there wasn't one to be had.

In truth, Norris said he's just happy to be back pitching in games. Especially when he didn't think he'd be back this year. And during his time on the DL, he didn't slack off. Norris was still up at night watching film, paying attention to starts from teammates and former teammates -- like David Price. Norris' approach to the game didn't change and his work ethic has stood out to James McCann.

"He's a great, great kid, a great person," McCann said. "His personality is awesome. He's a good team guy. The way he interacts with other players, it's a very similar personality to David Price. He's always around the hitter's cage -- a lot of pitchers will stay away from the hitters just because that's two different things. But he's always trying to form relationships with everyone.

"He's a genuinely nice person. He wants to be that guy that everyone likes and be that good teammate. I think if you could compare him to anyone, he is a lot like Price in that sense."

There are 10 games remaining in the 2015 season. Norris has one, maybe two starts remaining in the year depending on whether the Tigers want to stick to the rotation or skip a start. The year has been crazy enough for Norris and he's still a rookie learning how to be comfortable at the major league level and adjust to opposing teams. If this season is indeed a reflection of the pitcher that he'll be going forward, the Tigers have bright starter on their hands.