Losing one pitcher to the disabled list is a blow. Suddenly teams are forced to rely on unknown elements from the farm system, or untested prospects who haven’t spent much time in the big leagues. It can be harrowing, and it can also cost a team wins.
It becomes all the more difficult when two starting pitchers go on the disabled list at the same time, a situation the Tigers have been muddling through for the past week, with both Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer spending time recouping from injuries.
Norris has been out since July 6, suffering a groin injury, then encountering further setbacks during his the first inning of a rehab start with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens on July 24.
It is expected that Norris will throw a simulated game some time this week, possibly on Friday, though there is nothing set in stone yet. This is a promising step, and the Tigers will be watching closely to see if any of the tightness Norris had experienced in July returns.
Michael Fulmer was placed on the 10-day disabled list on August 3, though it was retroactive to the 1st. He was experiencing right elbow ulnar neuritis, which caused some numbness in his fingers. As the difficulty only manifests itself during pitching, the Tigers are going to need to test Fulmer in action to see how his hand does. Fulmer said the sensation isn’t a new one, but it was concerning this time. “It’s just one of those things where it lasted longer than usual. Which, that kind of puts a red flag in your brain like, something’s not right. This usually happens but it doesn’t stay this long,” he told The Detroit News.
Fulmer has been doing light throwing without issues, and Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus said things are looking promising, but it’s hard to know until they see him in action. “It doesn’t really bother him in his sides (bullpen sessions), [but] I don’t think we will know until he pitches.”
As for Fulmer, he’s itching to get back in the game. “Hopefully it’s going to be quick. I don’t want to take too much time off. This is killing me.”
With both pitchers resuming baseball activities over the coming week, Tigers fans may see a restored pitching rotation before month end.