Lakeland, Fla. – Michael Fulmer hasn’t yet experienced the madness of opening day in Detroit. He was told that it will feel like a playoff game.
“Well, I haven’t experienced that, either,” he said.
Manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday that Fulmer would get the start in the home opener against the Red Sox April 7. Justin Verlander will start the regular season opener in Chicago, with Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris also pitching in the White Sox series – though the order has not been announced.
“Just to get the nod in the home opener, in front of our awesome fans, it’ll be a day I won’t forget,” said Fulmer, the reigning American League Rookie of the Year. “But then again, you have to keep your emotions in check.
“I will try to treat it like another start. I try to block everything out when I am on the mound anyway. I know it will be tough, but it’s going to be exciting. I am really looking forward to it.”
It’s been an unusual spring for Fulmer. Because of his heavy workload last season, the Tigers have tried to ease him in this spring. He started his offseason throwing program later than usual and is roughly one start behind the other pitchers.
That’s why he is starting the season in the back of the rotation.
“I’m healthy, that’s the only thing that matters right now,” he said. “I am still trying to work out a few kinks with my mechanics. I sat down with (Justin) Verlander yesterday and watched some video from last year and this spring – just trying to fine-tune some things. I did get started a little late.”
Fulmer said he worked on some timing points and lowering his arm slot.
“Just easily fixable stuff,” he said. “I threw a bullpen yesterday and everything felt better. I am happy where I am at and I am happy where this team is at. … I am ecstatic to have the honor of pitching in front of the home fans for the first time this year.
“I hope everything goes right.”