After a visit to Dr. James Andrews, Michael Fulmer underwent ulnar transposition surgery on his throwing elbow in September. Barring setbacks, the right-hander is expected to be ready for spring training. The Tigers hope the procedure will correct the finger numbness and hand weakness Fulmer experienced, which probably hindered his shortened sophomore season. Following his 2016 Rookie of the Year win, he endured notable dips in ERA (3.06 to 3.83), K/9 (6.2, after 7.5 in his first season) and left-on-base percentage (79.0 to 65.6 percent). Fulmer, who turns 25 in March, owns an alluring combination of top-end velocity and a career 2.3 BB/9, which could become even more valuable if health brings back at least his 2016 K/9 (7.5) and possibly pushes it higher. Still, if he impresses in March, his price might climb to where the reward won't match the risk. Fulmer may not round into peak form until later in the season.
Jordan Zimmermann, not Fulmer, will start Opening Day, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. It was widely assumed that Fulmer would get the nod, but manager Ron Gardenhire decided to go with the veteran Zimmermann, who turned in a career-worst 6.08 ERA last season. Fulmer is Detroit's most talented starter, but he has dealt with some elbow issues this spring, so perhaps the Tigers are just giving him a little extra time to get ready for the season.
Fulmer (elbow) allowed just one earned run and struck out five during three innings against the Mets on Friday, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. Fulmer had experienced some right elbow soreness last weekend, but took the mound after a 10-day hiatus and looked like his normal self. The right-hander was able to toss a successful bullpen session Tuesday and received clean results from a precautionary MRI, so there shouldn't be any concern over his status moving forward.
Fulmer (elbow) threw around 40 pitches in the bullpen Tuesday and did not experience any issues, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. Fulmer was scratched from his start Sunday with soreness in his throwing elbow, with that outing getting bumped to Friday. After getting through the bullpen session without any setbacks, Fulmer seems on track to make his Friday start and potentially line up as the Opening Day starter.
Fulmer (elbow) is scheduled to start Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports. Fulmer had his previous start postponed after experiencing some soreness in his elbow, but an MRI revealed no structural damage and the soon-to-be 25-year-old is set to return to the mound after taking some additional time to rest and recover. This will certainly be a situation to monitor throughout the rest of camp, but barring any setbacks, it appears Fulmer should have plenty of time to get up to speed before the start of the season.
An MRI on Fulmer's elbow showed no structural damage, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports. Soreness in the back of Fulmer's elbow prompted the Tigers to postpone his upcoming Grapefruit League appearance and send the soon-to-be 25-year-old for a precautionary MRI. Fortunately, everything came back clean, confirming he avoided a more serious injury. The Tigers will still likely proceed cautiously with Fulmer given how early it is in camp, so continue to consider him day-to-day until Detroit provides more information regarding his status.