Lakeland, Fla. – Alex Wilson expects he will be ready to start the season on time; the Tigers aren’t so sure.
“It’s going to be tight,” manager Brad Ausmus said Monday.
Wilson, who’s working through a lat strain and shoulder fatigue, has yet to pitch in a spring game. After throwing a 27-pitch bullpen Monday, he is scheduled to face hitters for the first time in a live batting practice session Thursday.
If all goes well, he could pitch in a spring game Sunday.
“That’s going to give him just a week (to build arm strength and be ready to start the season),” Ausmus said. “I don’t know.”
Wilson, a key piece of the team’s bullpen plans, battled shoulder fatigue at the end of last season and didn’t throw for three months over the winter. It’s likely the Tigers will proceed with great caution – perhaps letting Wilson stay in Lakeland for extended spring training when they break camp.
That decision won't be made until the end of next week.
Around the horn
Designated hitter Victor Martinez took swings (soft toss) for the first time since straining his left hamstring last Monday. He said afterward he felt fine.
… Ausmus was under the weather Monday, suffering a bout of food poisoning. Asked if he was going to manage, he said, “I’m going to sit there.”
… Left-hander Daniel Norris, who was scratched from his start Saturday because of back stiffness, threw a side session (flat ground) on Sunday and said there were no issues. He is scheduled to start Tuesday.
… Norris and right-hander Shane Greene are battling for the final rotation spot. Ausmus was asked if it was vital to have a left-handed starter in the rotation. “That’s not part of the conversation at this point,” he said.
… Jordan Zimmermann, initially scheduled to start against the Phillies Monday, pitched a minor-league game instead and he dominated – five innings, 17 batters, 63 pitches, 42 strikes, one hit, no runs and four strikeouts.
... The Tigers are going to take one more look at left-handed starter Matt Boyd. He will start Thursday.