Tigers’ Michael Fulmer sprains ankle, will miss next start

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Michael Fulmer

Clearwater, Fla. – Michael Fulmer’s dream of playing for Team USA may have to be put on hold.

Manager Brad Ausmus said Fulmer suffered a mild (Grade 1) sprain of his right ankle Saturday and will miss his scheduled start Monday against the Orioles.

“He rolled his ankle during agilities yesterday and he's going to miss a start,” Ausmus said. “We don't expect it to be more than one start.”

The Tigers’ medical staff determined that an MRI was not necessary.

The Tigers were already in the process of easing Fulmer slowly into game-shape this spring. He threw a career-high number of innings last season, so his pitch counts have trailed behind the other starters.

Missing just one start pushes that back even farther – which is no concern for his regular-season readiness, but a big concern for his ability to join Team USA in the second round of the WBC.

“It probably affects his ability to pitch for the USA team in the WBC,” Ausmus said. “Just from a pitch-count perspective, he won't be up enough.”

Team USA general manager and manager Jim Leyland can replace Fulmer in the pitcher’s pool.

Meanwhile, in Lakeland Monday, Mike Pelfrey will get the start against the Orioles.

Big relief

Tigers pitching prospect Adam Ravenelle, who left the game Saturday with an elbow issue, got good news from his MRI. There was no structural damage.

“He seems to be OK,” Ausmus said. “They don't think it's anything structural. He just aggravated a nerve down in the bullpen. He feels a lot better today. We will get a second opinion to be safe, but they don't think it's anything major.”

Ravenelle said he felt numbness in his fingers, which is something he dealt with earlier in his career. He had ulnar nerve transposition surgery in 2012.

“It was just kind of a weird feeling out there,” Ravenelle said. “I didn’t want to take any chances.”

There is no timetable for when he will resume his throwing program.