DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer will throw 70 pitches in a start somewhere on Friday. Whether he'll be doing so with the Tigers in his return from the disabled list or at Triple-A Toledo in a rehab outing is currently unanswered."I don't know," Fulmer shrugged from his locker at Comerica Park
DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer will throw 70 pitches in a start somewhere on Friday. Whether he'll be doing so with the Tigers in his return from the disabled list or at Triple-A Toledo in a rehab outing is currently unanswered.
"I don't know," Fulmer shrugged from his locker at Comerica Park on Tuesday after throwing a bullpen session. "I guess Gardy will have to let you guys know. I don't want to be that guy."
Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't want to be the guy, either.
"I don't have that answer until Mr. [Al] Avila walks in and I talk to him," Gardenhire said of the Tigers' general manager. "There's always a chance of anything happening with our starting pitching, so we're going to see."
For now, nobody is saying whether Fulmer is headed back from the DL this week after a month on the sidelines with a left oblique strain. But the abundance of optimism coming from Fulmer and Gardenhire created the feeling that the right-hander could be back to face the White Sox on Friday night at Comerica Park.
"I threw a bullpen just now, and everything felt great," Fulmer said. "Like I told you before I left, I was taking time to work on stuff, and I was really excited with the way the bullpen went today, and [pitching coach] Rick Anderson was, too. I was excited with the way my rehab starts went. Everything felt good coming out of the hand, and the slider looks a lot better."
Fulmer overmatched Florida State League hitters in two starts for Class A Advanced Lakeland, delivering six scoreless innings of one-hit ball with no walks and 11 strikeouts. The results were so dominant that a better gauge of his pitching was how he felt and how his pitches moved, both of which were encouraging.
"I think my velo was up in my two rehab starts [as high] as it has been close to all season," Fulmer said. "Slider was a lot better. Changeup got swings and misses, too. Now you just try to transfer that to the big league game and see where we go from there, but everything's looking up for me."
Said Gardenhire: "He was throwing great. His body feels good. His slider was great. His changeup was good, and his fastball was 96-98 [mph]. He feels good, and everything's going as planned. We're happy to see him back in this clubhouse."
It would not be a surprise, either, if Fulmer is still in the clubhouse on Friday, preparing for a start. The Tigers are short-handed in their rotation, having used Sunday as a bullpen day. Detroit could bring Jacob Turner back on the roster for Friday, but a healthy Fulmer would clearly be a better option.
"We're not going to announce anything now," Gardenhire cautioned. "We'll see how it goes here. He's here and happy. Everything went really good. He's got one more hurdle to get over, and then we'll go from there."
More injury updates
• JaCoby Jones, who will be eligible to return from the 10-day DL later this week following his right hamstring strain, will spend three games on a rehab assignment with Toledo this week.
• Artie Lewicki, who went on the 10-day DL a week ago with right elbow inflammation, will visit a specialist in New York for further examination after experiencing continued elbow soreness in recent days. Lewicki said he'll see Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, who treated him when he had elbow issues in high school. "He's been my doctor since I was 13," Lewicki said. "He's got a good background, and he's been in my arm. It's more of a confirmation."
• Daniel Norris could have his rehab assignment transferred to Toledo later this week as he tries to get back to Detroit in September. Norris has been sidelined since the end of April following surgery on his left groin, and he has been pitching rehab outings in Lakeland.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.