Zimmermann, Norris likely to miss one more start

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Jordan Zimmermann

Detroit – Both Daniel Norris and Jordan Zimmermann were encouraged after their throwing sessions Friday, but each is likely to miss at least one more start.

“They will both probably need one rehab start,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “It depends on much longer this goes, but if they stay on the course we think they’re on, they should only need the one (rehab start).”

Ausmus confirmed that left-hander Matt Boyd will start on Monday against the Twins and Anibal Sanchez will start on Tuesday.

Norris, on the disabled list since July 5 with an oblique strain, threw 30 pitches off the mound for the first time since the injury on Friday.

“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I was encouraged today. I threw 30 pitches and I really let it go, especially the last few. Felt really good. I didn’t feel any tug or anything like that.”

Norris, who spent last week working out and rehabbing at Tigertown in Lakeland, injured the right oblique reaching for a ground ball in Cleveland on July 4. He suffered a similar oblique injury last August.

He suffered a lower back injury at the end of spring training that set him back a full month.

It’s been a lot of DL time for a strong, well-conditioned, 23-year-old athlete.

“I’m sick of it,” he said. “I hate being hurt. I hate going on the DL. I hate flying back and forth getting MRIs and stuff. I’m done with it. I’ve had enough of that.

“The thing that’s frustrating is, I’ve worked so hard in the offseason to prepare for this. And everything I do, I’m mindful of staying on the field and being the best athlete I can be. And it hasn’t really worked.”

The Tigers have encouraged him to gain weight, but that’s not going too well. He was at 195 pounds and 3.5 percent body fat in spring training, and he’s 195 pounds and 4 percent body fat now.

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“(Mike) Pelfrey is always telling me that you can’t pull fat,” Norris said with a chuckle. “They wanted to me to start eating cheeseburgers and stuff. But years ago, when I started getting serious about my body, that’s when I saw my career take off and I made it to the big leagues. So, it’s been tough.”

For the record, he’s not going to binge on cheeseburgers.

“No,” he said. “But like when I eat, like in Florida I ordered salmon, but instead of one entre I ordered two. I’m still going to eat healthy food, just more of it.”

Norris will probably throw a full bullpen session in two or three days. A decision on when and where he will make his rehab start would be determined after that.

As for Zimmermann, on the DL since July 1 with neck strain, he threw on flat ground Friday, between 90-100 feet. He will most likely throw out to 120 feet on Saturday.

“Today was a big test for me, just to see if I felt anything in the shoulder or neck,” he said. “It felt pretty good. But I am going to take it slow. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”

Zimmermann said he underwent a chiropractic adjustment Monday.

“There were definitely some crunches,” he said. “I don’t know if I was a little jammed up in the back or what from all the tightness. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better than I did today and go from there.”

He said all the testing is done. He has been cleared of any arterial or vascular issues. And he didn't feel the soreness or tightness in his neck when he threw.

“We did everything we need to do, now it’s just a matter of building the arm back up,” he said.

“I didn’t take too many days off, so I shouldn’t need a whole lot of throwing to get back to where I need to be. Probably just one rehab start, but that’s not been decided.”