Fulmer ready to take on Royals and triple-digit heat
Kansas City, Mo. — Michael Fulmer grew up in Oklahoma City, so he’s no stranger to dense, heavy heat. The forecast for Fulmer’s start Thursday night — an even 100 degrees.
“Yeah, it gets hot like that down there (in Oklahoma City),” Fulmer said. “But I haven’t been there in the summer for about seven years. It doesn’t get like that where I’ve been playing in the minor leagues or in Detroit.
“But (the Royals) have to play in it, too.”
Fulmer has been doing his best to acclimate himself these last three days, with the temperatures in the upper-90s and the heat index over 100.
“I’ve gone out and played catch and ran and lifted outside the last three days,” he said. “Just kind of trying to take that (heat) into your planning for the start. I threw my bullpen the other day and it was like 130-degrees on that turf. I was drenched beyond belief.”
Fulmer said he expects to go through a minimum of three jerseys Thursday night.
“You just have to deal with it,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a good reason to change your jerseys. I sweat more than anybody on the team probably and I try to wipe my hand across my jersey and it just gets sweatier.
“You just deal with it. You hope the balls are rubbed up good and use the rosin. Basically, just try to get a grip.”
Fulmer pitched in upper 90-degree heat in Arlington, Texas, last year and threw a nine-inning complete game. So it’s not like he’s going to wilt.
“I made it my goal that night to stay out there (on the mound) for as little amount of time as possible,” he said. “And I ended up going nine innings. But my time on the mound wasn’t very long and I will try to do that tomorrow.”
Fulmer has won his last four starts, averaging 7.5 innings per start. His last start was an eight-inning gem, as he gave up a run and two hits to the Blue Jays. He said the heavy work load hasn’t forced him to alter or cut back on his between-starts program.
“No, I’m sticking with the same routine,” he said. “Usually if I go deeper in the game I will go longer (tossing and running) the next day, just to flush everything out. It’s like I tell (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, if I go three innings or nine, I am still going to feel like crap the next day.
“I don’t need an extra day because I went more than seven innings. I am still going to feel bad.”
It’s why, he said, they give you four days between starts.
“The four days between starts you don’t feel so good,” he said. “But the fifth day, I will be ready to take the ball.”
Manager Brad Ausmus said the tentative plan is for Matthew Boyd to start on Sunday in Minnesota.
After giving up three runs in the first inning Tuesday, Boyd threw five scoreless innings to get both the win and a quality start.
“Honestly, he used all four of his pitches and that was the key,” catcher James McCann said. “He didn’t have great command of his change-up, not that consistent command. So he really had to trust his curveball and slider, and he had a lot of success with it.
“If you can throw all four pitches, and one’s not there, you are still able to go to the other ones.”
McCann said of the four hits Boyd allowed in the first inning, only one was barreled.
“He was tested right out of the gate,” McCann said. “Three runs; regardless if you’ve been here for 15 years or this was your first start, giving up three in the first could very easily get out of control.
“He was able to bounce back and put up five zeros after that.”
Boyd has taken the rotation spot of Daniel Norris, whose first rehab start in Toledo didn’t go well Tuesday — from a physical or pitching standpoint.
“He struggled with his command,” Ausmus said. “And, he felt his quad (tighten) a little on a play covering first base in the third inning — but he stayed in the game.”
It was a groin issue that landed Norris on the disabled list, but Ausmus said the quad had been tight, as well. Norris threw 66 pitches (39 strikes) over three innings. He gave up four earned runs on three hits and two walks.
Ausmus said he expects Norris to make at least one more rehab start, aiming to get his pitch count back up into the 90s.
“We won’t make any decisions until after that,” Ausmus said.
Around the horn
Jim Adduci, as was the case the first time he was called up from Toledo, didn’t get to the ballpark — he was coming from Pawtucket — until about an hour before the game. He was in the starting lineup. The first time he did a show and go, against the Twins on April 23, he went 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
… Ausmus said there was no thought of bringing JaCoby Jones back from Toledo to replace the traded J.D. Martinez. “We want JaCoby to play every day down there and get at-bats on a regular basis,” he said. Also, he said, Mikie Mahtook has been playing well since getting regular reps in center field.
… Alex Wilson, since struggling before the All-Star break, has thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings. “I think it’s going in the right direction,” he said. “I’ve been able to make pitches and work ahead of guys. The confidence is building. Just need to keep it going.”