Tigers' Zimmermann still not ready to return

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Cleveland — It’s another rise, rinse and repeat week for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.

After throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday, the Tigers still don’t think he’s ready to pitch in a game.

Instead, Zimmermann will throw a second simulated game Tuesday in Minnesota.

“I had Tommy John surgery earlier in my career,” Zimmermann said. “That was way easier than what I’m going through this year. It’s been a really, really frustrating year for me. You come to a new team and they have expectations for you to put up numbers like you have the last couple of years.

“Injuries happen, I understand that. But the only injury I ever had was Tommy John. Now I’ve had groin, neck, shoulder. One thing happened it kind of spiraled into a bunch of other things that I’ve battled the whole year.”

His body is healthy again, but with the injuries and three stints on the disabled list, his mechanics have gotten out of whack and his arm strength hasn’t been built back sufficiently.

“Yeah, my mechanics have been messed up for the last couple of months,” he said. “I don’t know if I switched it up when I had that groin injury or what. But I am getting back to what I feel are my old mechanics.

“I’m not rushing the pitches. I’m more in control and able to stay behind the ball. It’s been coming out pretty easy.”

Pitching coach Rich Dubee noticed a flaw in Zimmermann’s mechanics – showing him video from April when he was named American League pitcher of the month.

“It was noticeably different and that’s when the fix started,” Zimmermann said.

He said after his bullpen session that he was able to repeat his delivery on all but two or three of the 25 pitches, and the ones he got out of sync on where change-ups.

“I’ll take that,” he said. “The ball was coming out good and I was hitting my spots better than the last time. I feel like I am moving in the right direction.”

Perhaps, though, not fast enough for his liking or the Tigers’.

Asked if he expected Zimmermann to make another start this season, manager Brad Ausmus said, “It’s too soon to tell.”

The Tigers have not yet determined who will start on Wednesday, the middle game of the three-game set in Minnesota. It will be either Buck Farmer, Anibal Sanchez or Mike Pelfrey.

Matt Boyd will start Tuesday and Justin Verlander Thursday.

Twitter: @cmccosky