From bad to worse: Fulmer goes on DL with oblique strain
Detroit — The question was asked of manager Ron Gardenhire in his office before the game Friday: Did everybody make it back from the All-Star break healthy and ready to go?
His answer was yes.
Well, not quite.
Two hours later, the Tigers announced that starting pitcher Michael Fulmer was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. Reliever Victor Alcantara was called up from Toledo.
"He was about 19 pitches into a light bullpen session (before the game Friday)," Gardenhire said after the Tigers' 1-0 loss to the Red Sox. "He got a left oblique strain and it's going to put him out for a while. It's one of those unexpected things.
"He worked out over the break and he went out today, not that he wasn't loose or anything. It was just a normal pen. It happens. It's unfortunate."
Fulmer last pitched in Houston on Saturday. He went 4.2 innings and gave up a season-high 10 hits and seven runs. His issue that night was home plate umpire Pat Hoberg, who both he and Astros starter Gerrit Cole beefed with the entire night.
But there was no hint of anything physically wrong with Fulmer.
“It may not have looked like it, but I thought I had some of the best stuff of the year,” Fulmer said after the game. “My first half was terrible. It took a while for me to find a groove, but my last nine or 10 starts, I felt like were productive. My stuff was getting better and I was happy with the way I was throwing.”
Fulmer, who is 3-9 with a 4.50 ERA, was scheduled to throw Sunday against the Red Sox. Gardenhire said reliever Blaine Hardy will step into his spot in the rotation.
"I am curious on what kind of pitch count they're going to give me," Hardy said. "Or more so, what pitch count can I get to."
Hardy has been working out of the bullpen since June 26 and he has only pitched two full innings once since.
Gardenhire didn't want to make any predictions, but he expects Fulmer to be out longer than 10 days.
"I'm not a doctor, but I know these things generally take a good amount of time," he said.
Fulmer's trade value has been dwindling throughout the last month. This injury may all but kill it.