With just two weeks until Opening Day, the Detroit Tigers experienced yet another spring training injury on Tuesday. Daniel Norris joins Victor Martinez, Anibal Sanchez, Francisco Rodriguez, Cameron Maybin, Alex Wilson, Angel Nesbitt, and, oh yes, Daniel Norris, as those who have missed time this spring and may miss time at the start of the season. The latest setback hits hard for Detroit, as Norris seemed like the top choice for the No. 5 starter role.
After starting on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Norris was removed from the game in the first inning with a lower back issue, presumably related to the tightness that caused him to be scratched from his scheduled start last Saturday. Per MLive's Chris Iott, Norris was scheduled to undergo tests on his back later in the afternoon.
Given that the Tigers were going to monitor Norris' innings anyway this season, expect the team to take precaution with the young lefthander. They would be wise to give his back time to heal and not rush his return at the beginning of the year. With the season rapidly approaching and not much time remaining to be fully stretched out, it would be a surprise to see Norris on the Opening Day roster.
Assuming that Norris is out of the mix leaves a few options available for the fifth spot in the rotation. Shane Greene appears to be the clear choice for the spot, considering his performance this spring. He has logged a 2.63 ERA in 13 2/3 innings, with 14 strikeouts and three walks. Other options for the Tigers to consider would be Matt Boyd and Buck Farmer. Boyd has thrown 13 2/3 innings as well and has a 3.29 ERA, 13 strikeouts and three walks. Farmer has a 3.00 ERA in nine innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.