LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If you've ever wondered what the phrase "dead arm" feels like for a pitcher, Daniel Norris tried to put it into words after trying to pitch through it Monday."I'm standing here right now and it feels like it weighs a million pounds," the Tigers left-hander
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If you've ever wondered what the phrase "dead arm" feels like for a pitcher, Daniel Norris tried to put it into words after trying to pitch through it Monday.
"I'm standing here right now and it feels like it weighs a million pounds," the Tigers left-hander said of his arm as he stood in the clubhouse, having given up nine runs on 13 hits in three-plus innings in an 11-3 loss to the Braves. "Imagine having that on the mound and trying to throw hard with it. You're just using your whole body trying to get it over your head."
It's something he has felt before, something a lot of pitchers have felt at some point in Spring Training in their careers. Normally, he said, it's gone after one start. That didn't make him feel any better, emotionally or physically, as he reviewed his outing.
"It's happened to me plenty of times," Norris said. "It's just I wasn't expecting it tonight, so it's pretty frustrating."
Nor did manager Brad Ausmus sound overly concerned.
"Today I think was a case with Norris of a little bit of arm fatigue," Ausmus said, "not being able to get the ball down in the zone, leaving stuff up in the zone and they whacked it."
Asked if he was more frustrated or worried, Norris said he was more ticked off.
"I'm excited to come out and throw and then ... quite frankly, it's embarrassing," he said. "You're walking off the mound and people are cheering, 'Finally, this dude's out of there.' That's just embarrassing. I love this game more than anything and I go out there and embarrass myself. That's frustrating.
"There's no way to get around it. I embarrassed myself. I embarrassed my team. It's just not me. Sometimes that stuff's hard to swallow. You can chalk it up to one of those days. Regardless, it stinks."
Though Norris said he could tell in his pregame warmups that he didn't have life in his arm, he had velocity early, throwing fastballs at 92-94 mph on the stadium radar gun in a scoreless first inning. The fastball dropped a tick the next inning, then further in the third, though he had one at 94 in that frame.
"I don't need a radar gun to feel the ball's coming out right. I can feel it," Norris said. "Today I didn't feel it. I threw a slider and I looked back and it was 89. I threw a fastball and I looked back and it was 89. That just doesn't make much sense."
It's unlikely to affect his standing in the rotation. If anything, Ausmus said, it's good for a pitcher having a good spring to be reminded that it won't be that easy every start once the season begins.
Still, Ausmus said, it's a lesson.
"You have to find a way to get through it," he said. "If this is a regular-season game, you have to find a way to get deep into the game and save your bullpen arms so that the bullpen's not sapped the next three days. And sometimes you have to find a way to just hold them where they are and let your offense come back and help you out."
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.