Tigers' Daniel Norris to have groin surgery, could miss 8-12 weeks

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — There was inner turbulence, for sure. There was frustration. There was denial.

But in the end, once the decision was made, there was for Daniel Norris, peace.

“This is not what I envisioned going into the year, but I know it’s going to make me right,” said Norris, who on Thursday will travel to Philadelphia to have a surgical procedure on his troublesome left groin. “I’ve got a lot of peace about it because I know it’s the right decision.

“I am going to go through the rehab and get back to being my normal self.”

Norris will be operated on by Dr. William Meyers — who has performed similar groin procedures on pitchers Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt, as well as a number of NHL goalies. The recovery time is eight to 12 weeks — thus, Norris, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday, will likely be transferred to the 60-day disabled list later.

“They aren’t really repairing anything,” Norris said. “They are basically going in there and relieving the tension that’s there covering the groin.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire explained it as “a procedure to relieve pressure.”

“The structure is fine, but it’s not letting the muscle move freely,” Norris said.

As a result, when it flared early in his start on Sunday, he was unable to push off with his back foot. Not being able to drive through his delivery caused his velocity to drop from 95 mph to 87 mph.

“I thought I could pitch through it,” Norris said. “There wasn’t any pain. It just wasn’t firing. This procedure will get it back to normal.”

Norris’ groin issues began last season. He put himself through a rigorous training schedule in the offseason, including spending several weeks at the Peak Performance Project in Santa Barbara, Calif. Through strength and flexibility training, he thought he had put the groin problem behind him.

But it flared again early in spring training, prompting another visit to Dr. Meyers. He was given a clean bill of health, but the velocity never came back. He had to relearn how to get hitters out, using an 87-mph fastball and a variety of breaking balls.

“That’s why I had to get it checked out,” Norris said. “It’s tough. I don’t want to miss three months, or whatever it could be. But if it gets me back to who I know I am, the guy you all have seen in previous years, then it’s all worth it.

“I’ve been going out there trying to find ways to get people out. Bottom line, I’ve been grinding, finding success here and there, but yesterday it bothered me again.”

From the Tigers’ standpoint, the concern was that he could end up hurting his arm, changing his mechanics and straining to find extra velocity.

“It’s always frustrating for the kid,” Gardenhire said. “He wants to pitch. He had a little episode in spring training, got through it and it acted up again. He is frustrated. But when I see that he wasn’t pushing off the rubber — if you aren’t pushing off with your back side and driving through a pitch, you are going to lose velocity.

'We will let them (doctors) handle this, get him healthy and move on from there.”

Chad Bell was recalled from Toledo to take Norris spot as the long man in the bullpen.

“I’ve done everything in my power to be successful and healthy this year,” Norris said. “It just wasn’t in the cards. I’ve been praying a lot about it and here’s my answer. It might not be the answer I wanted or envisioned, but it’s an answer and I have to be thankful for that.

“I am going in on Thursday and get it over with, then get to rehab and get back as soon as possible. That’s my game plan.”