Daniel Norris will start the 2016 season on the disabled list. What started out as back tightness has now morphed into non-displaced fractures in the spinous processes, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. The Detroit Tigers don't anticipate Norris will be out long, but it's still not the best of news.
The fractures are located along the bony part that you feel when you run your fingers along the middle of your back. The typical recovery time for an injury like this is 4-6 weeks, though that time frame may increase because we're dealing with a back injury.
Norris' back issues began on March 19 when he was scratched with lower back tightness. He made his next start on March 22 vs. the Blue Jays, but lasted just 1/3 of an inning -- giving up three runs -- before being removed from the game for reoccurring tightness. He underwent further testing, and on Thursday went to see a specialist, who later confirmed the fractures.
Image courtesy of University of Connecticut
The last year has been filled with more downs than ups for Norris. He started last season dealing with dead arm, which also popped up again in August. Unbeknownst to Blue Jays and Tigers fans, he had also been battling thyroid cancer throughout the entire 2015 season. After the conclusion of the season in which the Tigers finished dead last in the AL Central, Norris underwent surgery to remove the malignant growth.
The Tigers have had plenty of bumps and bruises this spring, but nothing quite as major as this. Norris was battling for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, but his absence now leaves the starting five one short of a full rotation. There are still two weeks remaining until the season gets underway, but in the meantime, Detroit still has another hole to fill.
Norris is the second Tigers player to land on the DL for Opening Day. Cameron Maybin was the first, when subsequent X-rays revealed a hairline fracture of his left wrist. There has been some healing but not enough to the point where the Tigers are comfortable with him playing come April 5.
Other questionables include: Angel Nesbitt -- sprained ankle (it's worse than it sounds), Blaine Hardy -- left shoulder fatigue, Alex Wilson -- still dealing with a sore left shoulder, Montreal Robertson -- right shoulder subluxation, and Jeff Ferrell -- right shoulder soreness/impingement. Victor Martinez has been dealing with a left hamstring strain, but he'll reportedly be ready for Opening Day. So far.