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Tigers’ Michael Fulmer to miss start, ‘no timetable’ on return to mound

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The Tigers look to refine his lower body mechanics away from the field.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year and once heir-apparent to the Detroit Tigers’ ace pitcher status, has taken a step back in spring camp to address some lower body mechanical issues, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck.

Fulmer was originally scheduled to start on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, but a decision was made by the staff to hold him back. Manager Ron Gardenhire said, “We have no timetable for when he’s going to get back on the mound”, which is the last thing Tigers fans want to hear in the middle of March.

Fulmer has been dealing with lower body issues after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee during the offseason. He has been pitching with a brace on his right leg, including during spring training games, wearing it under his uniform a la C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees. However, after a significant decrease in his fastball velocity and a less-than-stellar spring training performance, it has become clear that something just is not right with the young hurler.

The decision makes the fight for the starting five in the Tigers’ regular season rotation even that much more intriguing. Daniel Norris, potentially the odd man out with Fulmer on schedule, may yet get to show off his revitalized arsenal against major league competition to open the season.

Spencer Turnbull will start for the Tigers on Friday in Fulmer’s place.