Neither pitchers Daniel Norris nor Jordan Zimmermann have recovered enough to return to the Detroit Tigers just yet. Norris will make a rehab start with the Mud Hens on Monday, but it’s doubtful that either will be ready in time for what would be their next starts. Also, J.D. Martinez is making progress but he’s still a ways off from rejoining the team.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters on Saturday that Zimmermann would likely need two rehab starts before the team would be able to get him back. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday after throwing on flat ground from upwards of 140 feet. From there, he’ll head to the minors for a rehab assignment if all goes well in the bullpen.
Zimmermann is recovering from a right neck strain and has been on the disabled list since July 2 (retroactively set). After receiving treatment for the strain, which included a chiropractic adjustment, he resumed throwing on Friday, and is no longer feeling the effects of the strain. Still, he’s at least a week — likely longer — from any consideration of returning to the team.
For Norris’ part, he’s at least throwing at full velocity and may not need more than one rehab start. Whether that changes will depend on how he fares on Monday. Norris has been on the 15-day DL since July 5 when he was removed mid-game for a strained right oblique. Test results had confirmed at the time that the strain was the lowest grade possible, the best news the team could’ve hoped for.
This is the second injury of the year for Norris, who earlier missed a good chunk of the first half for non-displaced fractures in his back. It’s his third with the Tigers in the space of less than a year, and that’s not including the cancer that he was dealing with at the time he was traded. Understandably, he’s fed up.
"I'm sick of it. I hate it. I hate being hurt," Norris told MLB.com’s Jason Beck. "I hate being on the DL, flying back and forth. I'm done with it. I've had enough of that.
“The only thing for me that's frustrating is I worked so hard in the offseason to prepare for this. I researched workouts, I did everything. Everything I do is mindful of staying on the field and being the best athlete I can be. It hasn't really worked."
With regards to Martinez (fractured right elbow), he may be ahead of schedule but he’s still several weeks out, and he’s equally frustrated. Unfortunately, broken bones aren’t exactly something a player can rush back to health, so it’s just going to take time for him to mend. He’s doing light to moderate baseball activities, but he told reporters that any harder swings are still too painful for him.
The initial time period for Martinez was set at 4-6 weeks. Exactly four weeks after he left the game on June 16 — he crashed into the right field wall making a catch — it’s likely that he’ll return closer to that six-week mark. As much as he wants to be back in the lineup, there’s just nothing else he can do but wait. And that may just be the most difficult thing for Martinez at the moment.