LAKELAND, Fla. -- Michael Fulmer might have to wait until next time to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. The Team USA addition will not pitch in the first two rounds of this year's event, and his chances of pitching at all for the team are looking slim.Tigers manager Brad
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Michael Fulmer might have to wait until next time to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. The Team USA addition will not pitch in the first two rounds of this year's event, and his chances of pitching at all for the team are looking slim.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced Sunday that Fulmer sprained his right ankle during agility drills, an injury that forced him to miss his scheduled start for Detroit on Monday, a 7-2 loss to the Orioles.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Fulmer said Monday morning that his ankle felt much improved. He's tentatively on the Tigers' pitching list for next Sunday's game against the Mets. Even if he's healthy, though, Ausmus said he likely won't have thrown enough pitches to be ready for the Classic.
Fulmer is part of the Designated Pitcher Pool for Team USA, meaning he could be added for subsequent rounds even though he won't be part of first-round play coming up. The Tigers were slightly concerned about building up his pitch count before that, Ausmus acknowledged, but his missed turn Monday raises that significantly.
"He's not going to be able to pitch for the second round," Ausmus said. "His pitch count won't be high enough. I guess he'd be a long shot for the third round."
Ausmus said they still have plenty of time to get Fulmer the pitches and innings he needs to be ready for the regular season.
The World Baseball Classic runs through Monday March 22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament will be distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.