Norris is in the mix for the Tigers' final rotation spot, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports. Michael Fulmer is expected to miss the entire season after being recommended for Tommy John surgery, leaving the Tigers with an open spot in their rotation. Norris, who has started 39 games for the Tigers over the last three seasons, is a leading candidate to fill that void, as is Spencer Turnbull. The southpaw hasn't done much to boost his case for the job this spring, posting a 5.06 ERA and 9:6 K:BB through 10.2 innings (compared to Turnbull's 2.70 ERA and 8:1 K:BB through 10 frames).
With Michael Fulmer shut down indefinitely to work on his mechanics, Norris has a shot to crack the Tigers' rotation to begin the regular season, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. It's unclear what exactly might be wrong with Fulmer, so it's hard to put a timetable on his shutdown. Norris has started 39 games for the Tigers over the last three seasons, so he has plenty of experience in that role, though he's yet to find consistent success in the majors. He could get another shot to begin 2019 but will likely shift into a bullpen role as soon as Fulmer is ready to go.
Norris allowed three runs on four hits over 1.2 innings and took the loss in Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees. He walked one and struck out two. Norris was victimized by three solo home runs in his short outing, which is a bit concerning after his HR/9 jumped from 1.06 in 2017 to 1.62 a season ago. The spike in home run rate coincided with a career-worst 5.68 ERA in 2018, and the 25-year-old lefty will need to have a good spring if he wants to earn a rotation spot to begin the year.
Norris is slated to make a couple of starts with the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League, Emily Waldon of The Athletic reports. A groin injury limited Norris to just seven starts and three relief appearances for the Tigers this season. He recorded a disappointing 5.22 ERA and allowed seven homers in 39.2 innings, thanks in large part due to a groundball rate that fell to a career-low 30.4 percent. He'll look to get back on track and make up for lost time in winter ball.
Norris (0-5) allowed two runs on five hits and three walks across 5.1 innings to take the loss Tuesday against the Twins. He struck out five. Norris cruised through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth, when he surrendered two runs on three hits and a walk before his removal with one out. The Tigers didn't provide any runs of their own until the seventh, sticking Norris with his fifth loss in as many decisions this year. This was actually one of the left-hander's most effective starts of the season, but he still owns an unsightly 5.71 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He'll look to build on this effort Sunday against the Royals.