Detroit – It could have been a whole lot worse. On two fronts.
Miguel Cabrera showed up for work Monday showing no ill-effects from taking a fastball on the outside of his left knee Sunday. He was in his regular spot, batting third and playing first base.
“Miggy is full-go,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s fine.”
Jordan Zimmermann also showed up at the ballpark Monday, not so much available to work, but with encouraging results from the MRI he took Sunday night after he strained his right groin in the sixth inning.
“Zimm came to the field feeling pretty good,” Ausmus said. “He said he really doesn’t feel pain in his groin at all, with the exception of one movement. He said he can walk around and do everything, all of his everyday life activities. There are no issues.”
The MRI showed a Grade 1 strain, which is the mildest grade. Ausmus said he won’t make his next scheduled start, which would’ve been Friday at Oakland.
“We are still holding off in terms of when he will make his next start,” Ausmus said. “We are still in the first third of the season. We have to be on the cautious side.”
Because the Tigers are off Thursday, they have 10 days to see how Zimmerman progresses. They wouldn’t need a fifth starter until May 31.
“The 10 days gives us extra time,” Ausmus said. “If we think the 10 days will be enough, then he will pitch. If we don’t think it will be enough time, then we can use the DL.”
Ausmus said that determination would be made well before May 31.
If the Tigers had to call up a starting pitcher from Triple-A Toledo for that game at Anaheim, the likely candidates would be left-handers Matt Boyd or Daniel Norris.
Norris is coming off a strong outing at Lehigh Valley Sunday. He allowed just one earned run and three hits, with seven strikeouts over five innings.
“They said his stuff was good,” Ausmus said. “His curveball was good and his velocity was good. He pitched better than his (stat) line.”
Boyd has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers at the Triple-A level all season. His ERA is 2.06 with a 1.15 WHIP. Opponents are hitting .232 against him and he’s struck out 41 in 48 innings.
It is possible, too, that Shane Greene could be ready by May 31. Greene, who will make his second rehab start at Toledo Wednesday, is expected to throw 60 pitches. Typically, the Tigers would want him to make a third rehab start and build his pitch count over 90.
But if Zimmermann wasn’t ready, they could hasten Greene’s return. He would be have five days of rest before the May 31 start.
Another option would be Buck Farmer, who was recalled Sunday night, replacing Drew VerHagen, who has been struggling of late. Farmer, though, is more likely to play a more prominent role in the Tigers bullpen.
“That move was more about getting VerHagen back on track,” Ausmus said. “We feel like Buck can pitch out of the pen in various roles. He can come in for an inning, or for a hitter or two, and he can also give us length.”
The best case scenario, though, clearly, is for Zimmermann to be on the mound that Tuesday in Anaheim.
“I am more optimistic about it than I was (Sunday),” Ausmus said. “That he doesn’t feel it when he’s walking around, I think, is a really good sign.”