DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers have sent Jordan Zimmermann for an MRI following Sunday's game in which he left in the sixth inning with a right groin injury. Until the team gets the results of that MRI back there will be no move made one way or another. But in unrelated roster move news, the team sent struggling reliever Drew VerHagen down to Triple-A Toledo and recalled Buck Farmer.
The Tigers have an off-day on Thursday before they head west for a six-game road trip. Unless the results are bad and Zimmermann needs to go on the disabled list, the team could just skip his turn in the rotation, which would fall on May 28 in following the usual rotation order.
The Tigers can backdate an injury to the last day played but no more than 10 days, which would make May 31 the latest the Tigers can postpone a decision. If the MRI isn't overly concerning, the team may just use a wait and see approach while Zimmermann recovers from the groin strain.
If, however, the team is bordering that line where it might be beneficial to go on the DL for a short time, Zimmermann will likely go on the DL, so the team can call up a temporary starter or carry an extra reliever. In any case, the injury is a blow to a Tigers rotation that can't afford to be without their best pitcher so far this year.
As for VerHagen, the decision to send him to Toledo is one of ineffectiveness. His issues were on full display during Sunday's relief outing, and for now the team wants him to work on a few things before handing him the ball in the later innings again.
"I think Drew's got a chance to be a really good pitcher," manager Brad Ausmus said after the game. "He can pitch anywhere in the game. I think he could eventually be a back-end of the bullpen-type reliever. But right now he's having trouble throwing strikes.
"He's a little off in terms of commanding the ball, fastball and the curveball, and we just want him to go down there and straighten himself out. We really like him a lot. The guy throws 95, he's 6'5. I think there's a lot to like about him, but right now we think he could use some time honing his skills."
VerHagen was converted to the bullpen after back issues ended his ability to be a starter. He was one of the Tigers' best relievers in 2015 and finished with a 2.05 ERA, but his 4.35 FIP was concerning. He had a 4.8 walk-per-nine rate and was only striking out 4.4 batters per nine innings.
So far this year he's had spurts where he's been solid in relief, but then he'd get blasted in an outing. Perhaps the Tigers see a future for VerHagen, but right now his 7.11 ERA and 5.33 FIP are in need of a makeover. He's also given up three home runs in his last five outings, which is doubly concerning.
Elsewhere in other injury updates, Miguel Cabrera is expected to be fine after taking a hit by pitch off his left knee in the seventh inning. He's currently day-to-day with a bruise.
"I don't expect Miggy's (injury) to be anything serious," Ausmus said. "The ball hit a nerve, he had pain going down his leg."