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Norris clears hurdle, ready to add to workload

Tigers lefty throws bullpen session as he recovers from last year's groin injury
Special to MLB.com

LAKELAND -- Left-handed starter Daniel Norris threw a bullpen session Tuesday, a day after he traveled to Philadelphia for a follow-up visit with Dr. William Meyers, who examined Norris following his midseason groin injury last year.

Norris said he is ready to ramp things up this spring.

LAKELAND -- Left-handed starter Daniel Norris threw a bullpen session Tuesday, a day after he traveled to Philadelphia for a follow-up visit with Dr. William Meyers, who examined Norris following his midseason groin injury last year.

Norris said he is ready to ramp things up this spring.

Tigers' Spring Training information

"Everything is good, structurally everything is great," Norris said. "I feel good, threw a bullpen today, and I'll throw [batting practice Wednesday]."

Norris said he felt soreness in his groin during his final start of last season, and he wanted to go back to Dr. Meyers to make sure everything was a go.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Last year, Norris struggled, going 5-8 with a 5.31 ERA in 22 games (18 starts) while dealing with several lower-body injuries. Norris had previously suggested part of his struggles came from trying to rush back from the disabled list too quickly.

"We're all athletes, every guy in the big leagues is fighting something," Norris said. "Y'all just might not hear about it, but if it's bad enough to go on the DL you do hear about it. Second half of the season, I was hurt the whole time. I wanted to pitch through it. I fought to pitch through it. It was tough."

Video: Norris discusses learning from 2017, building for '18

Norris said he expects to be ready for Opening Day.

"We got great news [Monday]," Norris said. "I haven't thought about that to be honest."

SHOWING OFF THE BASICS

Manager Ron Gardenhire is relying on some of the veterans to help the younger players improve their knowledge of the basics during the spring. Shortstop Jose Iglesias is one of those veterans Gardenhire wants to lean on, and for the former All-Star it means performing basic fielding drills to set an example.

"I just know him, and I know what he can do with the ball," Gardenhire said. "He's a magician. But during these drills I don't need a magician. I just need for him to show us what he learned as a kid growing up because he's far past all that stuff.

"So rolling balls to him might be a little ridiculous, but I want those kids to understand what they're doing. Catch the ball, bury it in your glove, use your feet, shorten the distance, follow your throws, all the little things that can take a lot of pressure off you by controlling the baseball."

Despite how basic the drills are for Iglesias, he says he's more than happy to share knowledge and is excited at the prospects of working with the younger talent.

"It's an honor for the manager to show that sort of confidence in me, and I'm blessed to be here and be part of this team," Iglesias said. "The young players are excited to learn, and they want to get better. I want to help them get better any way I can."

Iglesias said that he's having a great time around Gardenhire, pointing to the little changes the new manager has made that have brought a fun atmosphere to camp.

Video: MIN@DET: Iglesias makes great over the shoulder catch

"[Gardenhire] is a very energetic person with great character," Iglesias said. "This is just the beginning. A lot of great things are coming."

NO SCREENS NEEDED

Left-handed reliever Travis Wood isn't about to let a protective pitching screen or a finger injury from an offseason crossbow accident stop him from throwing.

Wood threw live batting practice without a screen Tuesday, drawing the concern of pitching coach Chris Bosio.

"He just didn't want a screen, that's who he is," Gardenhire said. "I mean he could have been behind the L-Screen at least. And [Bosio] is yelling at me, 'Go over there and tell him not to try to catch a ball'. ... Well what if it's coming at his lip?

"I don't think I can really tell a guy don't try to catch the ball when the ball is hit at your face."

WILSON WILL MAKE EXHIBITION START

Gardenhire said that right-hander Alex Wilson will start the Tigers exhibition spring opener against Florida Southern College on Thursday. He said he was not ready to name a starter for Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Wilson's pitch count Thursday will be up to Bosio.

"If he tells a guy he's throwing 25 pitches he's going to throw 25 pitches," Gardenhire said. "If that's three innings, it's three innings. If it's two innings, it's two.

"It sounds like [Bosio] is going to have me going to the mound quite a bit. Maybe if I make him walk out there with that foot, maybe he won't make us change pitchers so often."

Detroit Tigers, Daniel Norris