DETROIT -- Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer could be ready to rejoin the starting rotation during the road series next week against the Rangers. The All-Star pitcher played catch on Wednesday, throwing out to 80 feet without any issue in his right elbow.Fulmer still has a followup visit with team doctors
DETROIT -- Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer could be ready to rejoin the starting rotation during the road series next week against the Rangers. The All-Star pitcher played catch on Wednesday, throwing out to 80 feet without any issue in his right elbow.
Fulmer still has a followup visit with team doctors scheduled, but the way he felt throwing the ball, he expects no issue moving forward. Fulmer landed on the disabled list last week with inflammation in his right elbow.
"I really felt good, let a couple go -- no problems, no pain, no numbness, nothing," Fulmer said. "It kind of calmed down a little bit, and I'm happy about that."
Fulmer deferred to manager Brad Ausmus when asked about a timetable for his return, but Fulmer said he'll likely throw a side session on Friday. Considering he has missed only one turn through the rotation, Fulmer shouldn't need much more to be ready.
"My guess is he'll start the early half of next week," Ausmus said.
Fulmer's spot in the rotation would come up on Tuesday. Drew VerHagen will make his second start in Fulmer's place on Thursday against the Pirates.
Fulmer said he has a little concern long-term about the injury, but as long as he can throw without issue, he wants to keep pitching.
"We've considered all options, and right now it's not at that point [for surgery]," Fulmer said. "Last start, I felt it in the third or fourth inning, and my stuff was still there, velocity was still there."
By comparison, Fulmer said, he had a lot of pain and a velocity drop when he was dealing with bone chips in his elbow a few years ago.
"That's not the case right now," Fulmer said. "I know anything elbow-related or hand-related is scary, don't get me wrong. But it's definitely something that I can pitch with if it does pop up again."
Long-term, Fulmer said, his options could include surgery -- not reconstruction, like Tommy John surgery, but a procedure to shift his nerve to a different side of the arm to avoid numbness. Considering Fulmer underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014, the year he was drafted, he's considering surgery a last resort.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.