Detroit – Manager Brad Ausmus couldn’t have been more vague last week regarding left-handed set-up man Justin Wilson.
He and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand had come to the mound to check out Justin Wilson during his rough eighth-inning appearance in Seattle last Wednesday.
Wilson wasn’t fine. Turns out, he had to get a cortisone shot in his left elbow while the team was in Texas. He was not available to pitch in that series.
“The MRI showed nothing different from earlier in the year,” Ausmus said. “He had the injection and we wanted to avoid (using) him. He threw today. He said he could pitch through it, but we opted to get it treated.
“We wanted to give him a few days off and get him back to full health.”
The Tigers shut down Wilson for two days in June because of elbow soreness. And he has been clearly laboring in recent outings. He had given up runs in six of his last eight appearances, including five runs in 1.2 innings in two outings in Seattle.
A nerve in his elbow was being pinched, which was causing him to feel pain down his arm into his fingers.
“The finger was a side effect of the muscle tightening up on the nerve that runs down to the finger,” Ausmus said. “We’re trying to loosen up the muscle and take the pressure off the nerve.”
Wilson said Monday that he was feeling “a lot better” but still wasn’t quite ready to pitch.
“He indicated that he could use another day,” Ausmus said. “So we were staying away from him. He definitely felt better but he felt like another day would be extremely beneficial. So there's no reason to have him pitching if that's what his frame of mind is.
“Hopefully he's fine tomorrow but he's moving in the right direction.”
It’s on, now.
Rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer is expected to make his next scheduled start against the Red Sox on Friday. But the start after that will likely be pushed back.
“It’s going to happen,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers have a scheduled off-day Monday. Ausmus plans to manipulate the rotation at that point.
“It’ll be more than just pushing everybody back a day,” he said. “Fulmer will get pushed back farther than the others. If he keeps throwing nine innings, he’s going to get pushed back a few times.”
Counting his innings at Toledo, Fulmer has pitched 135⅓ innings. He pitched 124⅔ total last year. Ausmus has said there is no hard innings cap and the fact that Fulmer averages just over 15 pitches per inning – among the most efficient in the baseball – should help get him through without a total shutout.
“His pitch count is not alarming at all,” Ausmus said. “I looked at Gene Lamont in the eighth inning (Sunday) and said, ‘Geez, this guy is not going to make it easy.’ But it was a special occasion. His pitch count was down, he had all his friends and family there. I opted to give him a chance to complete the shutout.”
Which he did, in 112 pitches.
Around the horn
Tyler Collins was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna after he was called out on strikes in the eighth inning. It was his first career ejection.
…Center fielder Cameron Maybin (thumb) could begin his hitting program within a day or two. “I talked to him today and he said it was the best he’s felt,” Ausmus said. “He felt real good today, so I am much more optimistic with him. He still needs to go through a hitting progression.”
…Shortstop Jose Iglesias (hamstring) is still taking treatment. He has not been cleared for any baseball activities.
…The Tigers on Monday gave right-handed pitcher Jeff Ferrell his outright release. Ferrell, who pitched in nine games with the Tigers last season, has trying to battle through shoulder injuries. He was on the DL in Toledo with a rotator cuff injury.
…Miguel Cabrera went into play Monday one RBI shy of becoming the 11th player in Tigers history to knock in 1,000 runs with the team.
Royals at Tigers
First pitch: 7:10 Tuesday
LHP Danny Duffy (9-1, 2.82), Royals: He’s quietly been one of the most dominating pitchers in the AL since the All-Star break. In his last three starts, he’s allowed three runs in 23⅔ innings, striking out 28. His 1.01 WHIP and 5.52 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is best in the league. The Tigers scored four runs off him July 16; it’s the most he’s allowed since May 27.
RHP Justin Verlander (12-6, 3.42), Tigers: He has allowed two runs or fewer in his last eight starts. He’s allowed runs in just three of his last 22 innings. He ranks second in the AL with 170 strikeouts, fourth in opponent’s batting average (.216) and seventh in WHIP (1.06).