Tigers’ Zimmermann sees positive results from back injection

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann went back to Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas last week expecting to get another nerve-blocking injection in his neck. He needed two of them in the span of a year (one in November 2016, one in September) to relieve the pain and stiffness in his neck and shoulder.

The hope was to get one shot at the start of spring training and that would last the whole year. But Dr. Dossett had a different plan. Instead of getting injected in the neck, Zimmermann took it in the back.

The end result is positive — Zimmermann will resume his throwing program Tuesday.

“I went down there and asked, ‘Am I getting a shot in the neck, or what?’ ” Zimmermann said Monday after throwing lightly on flat ground. “And (Dossett) said no. He asked how I was feeling, and I said I felt fine. I feel good throwing and I didn’t feel anything in my neck.

“Then he said, ‘Well, it doesn’t pay to get it in the neck then.’ It would be like the boy who cried wolf, you know? Get it now when I don’t need it and then if I need it down the road it’s not going to work as good.”

He took the injection in mid-back on the right side.

“I have a couple of bulging discs and I was feeling a little tightness back there,” Zimmermann said. “A little shooting pain that came around in front of my ribs. There are nerves that come off the spine that wrap around like that.

“I waited four days and then played catch. I didn’t feel anything … I was a little leery, though. Two days after I had it done I was still pretty sore. I was like, ‘Oh man, didn’t it work?’ But after four days I threw and it was 100 times better.”

He will long-toss up to 120 feet on Tuesday and then throw a bullpen on Wednesday, the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. So, instead of missing the first couple of weeks of camp, Zimmermann — with three years and $74 million left on his contract and coming off the worst season of his career — will be able start on time.

Not deterred

Former Cubs left-hander Travis Wood, a non-roster invitee, showed up Monday with a splint on his right index finger.

Pitching coach Chris Bosio, who worked with Wood in Chicago, shook his head and started laughing when he saw him.

“How are you going to hold a glove?” he said.

Turns out, it wasn’t a problem. Wood did all his conditioning work and also threw a bullpen — he enlisted the help of pitcher Buck Farmer to catch the throws back from the catcher.