DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer's offseason plumbing career is having a slow winter. His day job, however, is looking good for this spring.
Four months after the Tigers' ace underwent ulnar transposition surgery to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, all reports are that he's doing fine and on track to be ready for Spring Training next month. That includes reports from Fulmer himself.
"Everything is going fantastic," Fulmer told Tigers play-by-play broadcaster Dan Dickerson and Pat Caputo on Tuesday night on the TigerTalk Hot Stove radio show. "We're already kind of ahead of where our medical staff and physical therapist [expected]. They're laying out a throwing program and we're basically ahead of where they were thinking we would be at right now."
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Fulmer has been working out at the Tigers' Spring Training complex for at least the past month, taking advantage of the upgraded workout facility at Tigertown in Lakeland, Fla.
Fulmer said he's throwing long-toss to 120 feet and plans to throw off a mound in about a week. He also said he has not had any setbacks. If that continues, he should be ready to go with no major limitations when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13. He said he has already talked a few times with pitching coach Chris Bosio, who has given him ideas after watching video of his season.
That readiness for camp was the goal when Fulmer underwent surgery last September, ending his season a month early. He had been pitching through the tingling and numbness that resulted from his ulnar nerve being restricted, but he wasn't pitching as effectively as he or the Tigers wanted.
The surgery shifted the nerve around the elbow to an area where it wouldn't be pinched or compressed. Unlike Tommy John surgery, the ulnar ligament should be fine, allowing Fulmer to regain his throwing without nearly as much rehab involved. Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom had the same procedure in September 2016 and was pitching early in Spring Training last year. He went on to make 31 starts for the Mets last season.
The process, however, did put a bit of a limit on Fulmer's offseason side job as a plumber's assistant.
"I helped out a little bit still, nothing too dangerous," Fulmer said. "It's always nice to just get out and not think about anything, especially not baseball, just try to get out there and do something and stay active."