With swelling down, Fulmer to ease into throwing program

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Pittsburgh – Michael Fulmer will throw a baseball Wednesday for the first time since he pitched on July 31, felt a tingling sensation in the middle finger and pinky of his right hand, and was placed on the disabled list.

“It’s gone,” Fulmer said of the inflammation in his ulnar nerve that the Tigers believe caused the sensation in his fingers. “It’s been gone for four or five days. I knew it was going to go away, that’s kind of why I fought the DL a little bit.

“I was honest when I said it was something minor, no big deal.”

Fulmer is not out of the woods just yet. Drew VerHagen will start in his place on Thursday and the Tigers hope he will be able take his regular turn five days after that. But there are still hurdles to clear.

“He’s going to meet with the doctor tomorrow and start tossing,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He feels fine. He’s dealt with this for a couple of years. This just seemed to be a little more progressive.”

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The Tigers are still concerned that the swelling could return again once Fulmer starts throwing in earnest.

“It doesn’t really bother him in his sides (bullpen sessions),” Ausmus said. “I don’t think we will know until he pitches.”

Fulmer is planning on playing light catch Wednesday. There is no bullpen session scheduled at this point.

“It if pops back up, then it’s a different story,” Fulmer said. “But there is no pain and the feeling is back in my fingers. It’s just one of those things where it lasted longer than usual. Which, that kind of puts a red flag in your brain like, something’s not right. This usually happens but it doesn’t stay this long.”

So, it’s good news that everything seems back to normal, but the Tigers and Fulmer are keeping fingers crossed until they see how the nerve responds to actual extended pitching.

“Hopefully it’s going to be quick,” he said. “I don’t want to take too much time off. This is killing me.”

Twitter: @cmccosky